Sport

In the print issue: Swimmers aim for success 

Irish swimmer Maria Godden cracks a smile after a race - Image credit: Kilkenny Observer courtesy of Editor Paul Hopkins

Maria Godden, John Shortt and Roisin Ni Riain have been busy in the pool, writes Cillian Foley.

Early mornings in the University of Limerick Sport Arena see dedicated swimmers pushing their limits as they prepare for their upcoming international competitions. 

Among them, two swimmers qualified for the recent World Championships in Doha, while another athlete has earned her spot in this year’s Paralympics. 

Maria Godden, who is a current UL student, and John Shortt both achieved World Championship qualification in the highly competitive 200m Backstroke, marking a significant milestone in their swimming careers. 

Kilkenny native Godden finished 17th overall in Qatar, while Galwegian Shortt broke the Irish record in the semi-final to finish 14th overall.

Their relentless dedication to their trade includes rigorous training sessions in the pool of 20 hours per week followed by three gym sessions. 

National Centre Limerick coach JohnSzaranek expressed this hard work by saying: 

“We’ve been preparing since the start of the season with the key meet in mind being the World Championships, we were in the water nine or ten times a week, so we have a healthy training block.” 

Meanwhile, Róisín Ní Riain’s qualification for the Paralympics underscores the diversity and talent within the local swimming community. The achievement of the 18-year-old science teaching student from Drombanna, serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes and highlights the inclusive nature of competitive sports.

In anticipation of the Olympic trials and the chance to secure a spot at the Paris Games, swimmers have immersed themselves in an intensive training regimen focused on enhancing physical fitness and refining technique. 

However, coach Szaranek is quite confident in their ability and believes that each athlete works together despite the individuality of the sport.

“The swimmers are very focused on what they’re here for, and we have clear objectives in terms of trying to make everyone better.” he said.

The 2024 Olympic swimming events are planned between July 27 and August 4, while the Paralympic swimming starts on August 29 and will run until September 7.

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