Ellen Walshe made history in Abu Dhabi as she swam her way to silver in the 400m Individual Medley at the World Short Course Swimming Championships.
Earlier in the day, Walshe qualified for the final by breaking a 27-year old Irish Senior record. A few hours later, the Dublin swimmer astonishingly swam FOUR seconds faster to knock more time off that record and simultaneously claim silver.
Walshe who is currently based at the University of Tennessee, swam 4:26.52 to finish second behind her Tennessee compatriot, Tess Cieplucha. This is the first time an Irish woman has claimed any swimming medal at a Senior World Championships.
Reflecting immediately after the race, Ellen Walshe said: “It doesn’t feel real yet. I knew it was going to be a fast field. It’s just really nice to walk out for my family, friends and country. It feels great to get on the podium, I haven’t been there in quite a while.
“Tessa [Cieplucha] who won it is a team mate of mine in University of Tennessee, so it’s really nice that I get to stand on the podium with her later today.”
It’s been a phenomenal year for Walshe who qualified for the Olympic Games in the final weeks before the Games started. In 2020, 18-year old Ellen Walshe etched her name into history books became the first Irish woman to break a minute for 100m butterfly in a long course pool
On the same day, Olympic star Mona McSharry became Ireland’s second finalist at the Championships breaking her own Irish Senior Record in the 50m Breaststroke Semi-Finals.
McSharry swam 29.65 and will race in the final tomorrow ranked third. She has not won a World senior medal before, but did win a Bronze Medal at the LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships in 2019.