Sligo swimmer Mona McSharry has said she is happy with her eighth place in her first Olympic final, adding it was an amazing experience to compete in the Games.
“It's all about competing. I think I put in a good fight. I'm happy to come away from my first ever Olympics with an eighth place. It's really not that bad,” McSharry said after her appearance in the 100m Breaststroke event.
The swimmer thanked her family and supporters who had got up at 3am to watch her race and for the many messages of support she had received in the last few days. Her focus is now on the next Olympics in Paris in 2024, she said.
“I'm very excited, I think it's going to be a short three years. Making a final was my target for 2024, so I guess we'll have to sit down and make some new targets.”
McSharry explained she had tried to replicate her semi-final swim but had lost some speed when coming off the wall.
"My tactic was then to race home like I did yesterday. I thought I did that, but it's hard to tell how you did until you watched it.
"I'm happy overall - three swims under 1:07 is really good. If you had told me I would have swam 1:06 I would have been really happy with that. It shows consistency and that the training is working."
Earlier, Mona's mother said her daughter’s success will provide a great incentive for young children.
Viola McSharry told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland: “For other younger kids to see she can come from a small village and achieve all that - she hasn't been training in Dublin or Limerick or anywhere.
"She basically set her ground from here, then of course last year she trained in Tennessee. It really all started here, and it is possible for other young kids as well."
Ms McSharry added that Mona had been “quietly hoping” to get into a semi-final and “maybe, maybe” a final. “That was her goal for this one - she'll have to re-tweak now and set herself a new set of goals for Paris 24.”
Mona’s father Aidan said it was “something really special” for the swimmer to be at the Olympics in Tokyo.
“I didn't think she'd go as far as she did, but we’re really, really happy that she did for her and for us of course and my family here, that she's done us really proud,” he said.
Her sister Luca said: “It is incredible really, when you think about it. You stop for a second and you think it is really amazing - she's gone to the Olympics, gone all the way to the finals - that's pretty cool.”
For her brother Mouric it was going to take a minute for it all to “set in”.
“It's hard to comprehend now straight afterward, it will take a minute to set in, but I'm very proud first off. it's great that she can go out there in her first Olympics, make it to a final and do so well,” he said.