The men’s Medley Relay team set yet another Irish national record on the final day of the FINA World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea but once more an automatic qualifying berth for Tokyo 2020 was just beyond the Irish competitors.
Shane Ryan (Backstroke), Darragh Greene (Breaststroke), Brendan Hyland (Butterfly) and Jordan Sloan (Freestyle) finished in 14th place overall, just two places and 0.75 of a second off the automatic place that went to Hungary in 3:35.11.
Ireland’s Irish record time of 3:35.86, which won their heat, still leaves the quartet in contention with a further four places on offer to those teams in the top 16 in the world in May 2020.
Speaking after the race Greene said, "It’s really good, we couldn’t have asked for anymore really on the day, we stepped up, all swam hard out, so we’ll see what happens next year now."
Following eight days of racing in Gwangju, where six new Irish Records were set, national performance director Jon Rudd said, "There are so many positives that this Irish team and Swim Ireland can take away from this Championships. Three semi-finals at this level, with another two positions one place off a semi-final is a great outcome for us a year out of an Olympic Games.
"The times achieved by both Brendan Hyland and Darragh Greene at this meet are truly world class and testament to a home soil coaching programme delivering at the highest level. Our relays have been excellent, particularly our men’s 800m Freestyle relay and 400m Medley Relay and we must now plan carefully as to what we need to do to try and secure Olympic berths in these events for 2020.
"If we achieve that, another piece of Irish swimming history is written. I’m very proud of those that stepped onto this stage and truly delivered. Lifetime best performances at this meet are anything but easy."