After Fiona Doyle failed to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics her family felt that they had to stage an intervention.

At 20-years-old her life’s ambition as a swimmer had been to get to the Games and she didn’t take missing out very well.

The Limerick woman acknowledges just how close she is to her parents, three sisters - including her twin Eimear - and two brothers. And it was these family ties that helped turn her around and make the grade for Rio.

"I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them," said Doyle, who recently graduated with a degree in kinesiology in Calgary - more of which shortly.

"They gave me the kick I needed in 2012 and ensured that I qualified for Rio - they made sure that I was doing everything that I could. I was going around thinking I deserved to go to London, but I wasn’t doing everything I could do to ensure that I qualified.

"I wasn’t putting swimming first and I was blaming everyone bar myself. My family sat me down and said that something had to change. If I was going to give up swimming and concentrate on something else, that was fine.

"But if I was going to keep at it, I wasn’t going to be able to just give it 80 or 85 per cent, which is what I was doing. They all gave up a lot so that I could come to Canada and pursue my dreams. It was a difficult conversation to have and I had to have a long hard look at myself.

"I started to put school ahead of everything else - that meant making sure I was getting “assignments in on time and not waiting until the last minute and that then meant that I could put swimming first. Everything after that had to fall in line," said Doyle, speaking to RTÉ sport.

"I reduced my social live - and even before then it was nowhere near at the level a student would call a normal social life - but I had to ensure that it didn’t affect my sport. It was so I had to make changes. I’m still having fun, but I make sure that it’s not affecting my swimming."

Kinesiology is a branch of sports science, with a particular emphasis on the movement of the human body, and Doyle (24) moved lock, stock and barrel to Calgary. It’s a city in Canada’s mid-west and not a place many people in Ireland have heard of. She was the same before she moved.

"A lot of Irish people have been to Toronto, but never made it as far as Calgary so I describe it as the middle-ground. Toronto is Dublin - bigger and very busy while Calgary is more like Limerick, it’s easier to get around and you don’t have as much traffic,” explained the 100m breaststroke specialist.

"It has worked out really well for me - I couldn't say a bad word about the people or the place because they have all been fantastic to me."

She won’t have a bad word said about the people or the place. She has slightly different views about the weather in Calgary though, particularly in winter.

"Being Irish I never really checked the weather before I came out and I just said ‘sure, I’ll be grand!’ I knew it would be cold, but I had NO idea just how cold," recalls Doyle with a laugh.

"During the winter it averages about -30 degrees and it can go as low as -40. It was funny because growing up I hadn’t seen that much snow and I kept telling the people in Calgary that I couldn’t wait for winter to come.

"They were all telling ‘oh, yes you can!’ And then winter came and I was super excited and then I realised what it was really like. It goes on for six months. I often snows in May and it sometimes snows in June. 

"Irish people think you'll be alright out in -20 if you dress up warm, but they have no idea. If you’re not wrapped up properly and you’re out in -20 for just a few minutes you’ll get sick.

"I wear a jacket under my big coat, two jumpers, two pairs of pants, two pairs of socks, hat, scarf and gloves are all compulsory - even if you think you’re too cool for that sort of thing!

"I used to have to walk to training and it really sucked. Getting ready at 5.30 in the morning meant being prepared with loads of warm clothes that were easy to get on and off so I could get out the door quickly. When I’d get to training I’d be freezing and then I’d have to jump into a cold pool - I wasn’t a fan of that!"

Doyle, who enters the pool for the first time on Day 2 of the games, Sunday, August 7, doesn’t see herself still swimming competitively as far into the future as the Tokyo 2020 games, but Rio won’t be her final meet.

After that she intends to further her studies, possible at home or maybe in Canada, with medicine a course she is strongly considering.