Ryan: World bronze medal is not just for me, this is for everyone
Shane Ryan made history by claiming Ireland's first World Championship swimming medal as he took bronze in the 50m backstroke at the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Hangzhou, China.
Ryan had progressed through the rounds with three Irish records, from 23.03 in the heats to 22.96 in the semi-final, before yesterday making a huge leap to 22.76 for the bronze medal.
The medal-winning time moves the American-born 24-year-old into the top 10 of all time in the event, ranked at No 9.
The medal is Ryan's third major podium finish after his World University Games gold in 2017 and European Championship bronze earlier this year.
"I'm really, really happy with how the race went, I know with each race I wanted to get a little bit faster and just try to get my hand on the wall," Ryan said. "Tonight I'm happy I got my hand there, got a bronze medal and I'm glad that Ireland were on that podium with the flag raised."
Commenting on winning Ireland's first world senior medal, he said: "It's a great honour, it really is, every stroke I was racing I was thinking, 'I've got to get my hand to the wall, not only for me but for Ireland, my coaches, my team-mates'
"It's not just for me it's for everyone else, Irish swimming is in the spotlight, the future is really looking good for all of us."
Russia's Evengy Rylov took the gold medal in the event in 22.58, USA's Ryan Murphy claimed silver in 22.63 and in the battle for third there were just three-hundredths of a second between third and fifth, Ryan claiming the medal ahead of Russia's Kliment Kolesnikov (22.77) and Brazil's Guilherme Guido (22.79).
Ryan returns to the pool today for the 100m freestyle heats and he will also be joined by Conor Ferguson, Darragh Greene and Brendan Hyland for the men's 4x50m medley relay. Greene also competes in the 50m breaststroke heats.
With all four swimmers in record-breaking form this week, Irish records in all three events will certainly be under threat.
Earlier yesterday 17-year-old Niamh Coyne swam a personal best 1:07.19 in the 100m breaststroke.
Swimming in her first senior international event, Coyne has impressed this week with best times in the 50m and 100m breaststroke so far.