23 May 2012

PORTAFERRY teenage swimming sensation Sycerika McMahon is Olympic bound.

The 17 year-old secured her place in the London games yesterday after achieving the Olympic standard in the 100m breaststroke at the European Swimming Championships in Hungary.

Sycerika’s time of 1:08.37 in yesterday morning’s heats not only beat the Olympic qualifying time, but is also a new Irish record.

She finished second in her heat and was the third fastest qualifier for last night’s semi-finals.

It’s a magnificent achievement and comes just a month after she came within a whisker of meeting the qualifying standard at the Celtic Tri-Nations meeting in Dublin.

Sycerika (below) joins Grainne Murphy and Barry Murphy in the Irish Olympic swimming team, with Melanie Nocher seeking to make it a quartet for London.

Sycerika has been tipped to become the finest swimmer Ireland has produced.

Last year she won two gold medals and a silver at the European Junior Championships in Serbia, a performance which drew lavish praise from top coach Nelson Lindsay.

“The European Junior Championships are the gold standard for swimming and it is reliable indicator that those who medal there go on to have a very successful senior career,” he said.

“I believe Sycerika has the potential to go on and be the best Irish swimmer ever. When you consider just how good Sycerika is across a wide range of strokes, it tells you how good she is and how good she can become.”

Having claimed gold at the European Youth Olympics in Tampere three years ago, Sycerika’s star has been rising for some time — but her potential has finally been realised.