June 05, 2021

Ireland have been invited by FINA to send two relays - the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay and Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay - to the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

It was Ireland’s goal at the LEN European Aquatics Championships in Budapest last month to qualify at least one relay team for Tokyo 2021, and every relay team that competed at that Championships broke the associated Irish Senior Record to help vindicate Ireland's explicit relay focus for that particular meet.

The Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay set two new Irish Senior Records en route to their invite, finishing with 7:12.00, and the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay set a new standard of 3:34.62 in the Budapest heats, with both times proving to be historic in earning Ireland their first Olympic relay invites since 1972.

The news also means that Ireland has earned a male Olympic relay spot for the first time.

Swim Ireland’s National Performance Director Jon Rudd said: “This is a truly a historic moment for Irish swimming and for us all to be part of that, and for the Irish swimming community to have something huge to celebrate after such challenging times of late for our sport is so inspiring and uplifting.

“The athletes have done a remarkable job here in not getting one but two relays over the line, something we haven't achieved for 49 years. The coaches and practitioners who work day in, day out, with these athletes must also receive our praise and our thanks. Now we prepare to do our nation proud in Tokyo - and give everyone a summer of excitement to look forward to.”

National Record-holder Brendan Hyland, who swam the butterfly leg on the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay, said: “I am honoured to achieve this for Ireland. Jon Rudd and Ben Higson have done a great job of bringing Irish swimming on, because I never thought of relays at the Olympics before this.

“These two relays going to Tokyo shows the sum of the collective effort. Five of the seven lads don’t have individual times yet, but as a relay they have come together to achieve this.”

Bangor’s Jordan Sloan is part of 14 Irish Senior Record-holding relay teams, including the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay.

He said: “We knew we put ourselves in the best place possible at the European Championships. After last week I thought it was done, so it’s just a massive relief to finally have it confirmed.

“In relays, everyone pulls together. It’s just so different to competing individually. You’re representing Ireland and each other.”

Seven swimmers helped earn the times above, notably training under three different coaches at three different centres in Ireland.

On the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay, Shane Ryan, Darragh Greene and Brendan Hyland train at the National Centre (Dublin) under Swim Ireland’s National Senior Team Head Coach Ben Higson.

Jack McMillan, who swam on both relays at the European Championships, trains with Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay teammate Jordan Sloan at Bangor Swimming Club under Coach Paul Dennis.

Gerry Quinn, who was part of the Men's 4x200m team also trains at the National Centre (Dublin) under Higson, whilst Freestyle team-mate Finn McGeever trains at the National Centre (Limerick) under the Centre’s Head Coach John Szaranek.

Final team selection for Tokyo 2021 for these relays will be made at a later date.