Thursday 29 September 2016

If I don't perform in Rio, I'll feel like I've let people down - Doyle

Published 25/05/2016 | 02:30

Rio-bound Fiona Doyle is supporting Electric Ireland’s #ThePowerWithin campaign. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Rio-bound Fiona Doyle is supporting Electric Ireland’s #ThePowerWithin campaign. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

It seems strange to hear a 24-year-old talk about herself as almost a veteran of her sport but when you have been on the Irish swim team since you were 13, it begins to make a bit more sense.

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Like every athlete, Fiona Doyle dreamed of qualifying for the Olympics but having missed out by one second in 2008 and less than half a second in 2012, she thought her chance had been and gone.

Last July, Doyle became the first Irish swimmer to qualify for Rio, hitting the mark in the 100m breaststroke at the World University Games.

Easy

It hasn't been an easy road to get to where she is now, having moved to Canada to study at the University of Calgary.

Last week the Limerick native competed at the European Championships and while the results weren't spectacular, it is merely a case of timing her run to peak at the main event in Brazil.

"I haven't really done much this year. I didn't want people seeing me race poorly and question if I should be going to the Olympics," Doyle said.

"For the most part, people see us only at the Olympics. They don't see us any other time. Back in 2013 I won a silver medal at the World University Games and two years later when I won two at the World University Games again, people were like 'who is she?'.

"I have been on the Irish team since I was 13 so it's been a long time and yet people are still asking 'who is she?'.

"When people see the Olympics, they forget that we don't decide one morning that we're going to go to the Olympics. This has been something I've been trying to do since I was 12.

"I'm ranked somewhere in between 12th and 14th in the world and that means nothing to anybody. Whereas if I was 12th or 14th in the world in golf, everybody would know.

"If I go to the Olympics and I don't perform, I'm going to be really upset with myself because I spent so long trying to get there. But then I'm aware that I'll feel like I've let people down.

"You have people who become experts on the sport by just watching the Olympics. It's nerve-wracking but you have to be selfish as well."

Irish Independent

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