July 26, 2021

Tallaght’s Brendan Hyland hit an impressive season’s best time on his Olympic debut in the 200m Butterfly heats at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Monday morning.

His time of 1:57.09 was 0.54s off his Irish Senior Record, but the second quickest time he has ever posted in this event and enough to see him finish third in his heat.

Hyland, who trains at the National Centre (Dublin), looked back to his best, entering the Games ranked 27th.

The 27-year-old’s time was identical to the time he produced in the heats of the FINA World Championships in 2019 and on that occasion it was good enough to see him into the semi-finals; two years later, again amongst the world’s best, it saw him finish 23rd .

Hyland will return to the Tokyo 2020 pool on Tuesday morning to swim as part of the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay heats alongside Finn McGeever, Jack McMillan and Shane Ryan.

Hyland said: “I looked at the Olympic rings about 40 times! I was just thinking that this is unbelievable, that’s what everyone says about an Olympics. You’re waiting your whole life for this so it definitely spurred me on.

“The build-up to this Games has been frustrating and tough but I was blessed with a bit of luck and that’s my second fastest swim ever! It’s actually nice to swim well, it took me a while to see the clock so when I saw 1:57 I was genuinely so happy.”

He added: “I’ll be trying to keep the morale high and keep everyone excited for tomorrow. The guys will be nervous for their first race but I’ve one under my belt now - so that will be my job, to steady the ship now that I’ve the nerves out of the way.”

Hyland was part of the Irish quartet that set an Irish Senior Record in this relay event at the 2019 FINA World Championships in South Korea.

That result put Ireland in the 16th and final place on the qualifying list for Tokyo 2020 at that time; and another Irish Senior Record at the LEN European Championships in May this year cemented that position, with Hyland not featuring on that occasion.

Ellen Walshe was also in action this morning, swimming 2:13.34 from lane 1 of the final 200m Individual Medley heat, which was won by three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu.

The 19-year-old’s performance was not a personal best time, but moved her up from 20th to 19th in the Games rankings. Walshe, from Templeogue in Dublin, leaves Japan brim-full of experience and marked as a bright prospect for Paris 2024.

From September, she will join Mona McSharry in the US at the University of Tennessee.

In seven swims, Team Ireland's swimmers have not dropped a ranking. Each swimmer either maintaining the place they entered their event in, or bettering it.

Full results: Swimming Schedule & Results - 26 Jul | Tokyo 2020 (olympics.com)


Schedule, Tuesday – July 27

03:17 Mona McSharry – 100m Breaststroke Final – PB 1:06.29

11:50 Darragh Greene - 200m Breaststroke (Heat 5) - 2:10.05

12:03 Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay (Heat 2) – PB 7:12.73

12:31 Daniel Wiffen – 800m Freestyle (Heat 3) – PB 7:52.86


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