London 2012: Introducing… Melanie Nocher

Our latest in the series looks at the 24-year-old swimmer from Holywood Co Down.

(INPHO/Giorgio Scala)

Event: Swimming

Who is she? A 24-year-old native of Holywood Co Down, who despite her youth, has already represented Ireland at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Nocher disappointed in the 200m freestyle heats in 2008, before an improved performance in the 200m backstroke meant she could go home with her head held high.

She has since completed a degree in sports science at Loughborough, a UK university renowned for its excellent sports facilities, and exceeded expectations by qualifying for London 2012.

Road to London: Nocher qualified for the Olympics in May during the European Swimming Championships in Debrecen, breaking the Irish national record in the final of the 200m backstroke in the process with a time of 2:10.75.

Her career-best performance was especially satisfying, given that many critics had previously dismissed her chances of qualifying for the event.

What she says about herself: “It’s great to be going to my second Olympics. It’s been a hard year for me – this is my last chance. I wanted to go out with a bang and I did that.”

What they’re saying on the internet: “Many of the Irish ladies are going into this Olympics with personal bests and great performances behind them. It must be a huge boost to their confidence before the games.” – James Lynch,

Medal chances? Highly unlikely – Nocher herself believes she has little hope of winning a medal, and would be satisfied just to make the final. Consequently, Jimmy is being as harsh as ever:

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On the Twitter: Get following @MelanieNocher. Her tweets are a mixture of informative remarks in relation to her sport (“Only 42 days left till the Olympics start hope everyone is gettin excited #roadtriptolondon”) and somewhat less relevant but no less entertaining insights (see below):

If you meet her in a bar, ask her about… Rory McIlroy. She comes from the same town as the esteemed golfer.

If she was a YouTube video, she’d be… ‘A Million Ways’ by OK Go – renowned for being cool and calm, while possessing excellent hand-eye coordination to boot.

YouTube credit:

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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