Diver Oliver Dingley and swimmer Ellen Keane have been announced as the Swim Ireland Performance Athletes of the Year following their outstanding achievements at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Dingley became Ireland’s first Diver in 68 years to qualify for an Olympic Games last February. At the Games, the 23 year old cruised through the preliminary round of the 3M Springboard to advance to the semi-final in 13th place. Another exceptional performance in the semi-final, where he finished 9th, saw Dingley qualify as Ireland’s first ever Diving finalist at an Olympic Games. A lifetime best score in the final then secured him an 8th place finish overall and a spot in the 2017 World Diving Series.
Ellen Keane, competing at her third Paralympic Games, deservedly collects the Female Performance Athlete of the Year Award following her Bronze medal win at the Games. Already a World medallist, Keane collected SB8 100m Breaststroke Bronze in September, her first Paralympics medal. Keane was also a finalist in the 100m Backstroke and 100m Butterfly at the Games.
16 year old Mona McSharry was named Junior Performance Athlete of the Year following her performances at the European Junior Swimming Championships in Hungary in July. The Marlins SC (Donegal) swimmer collected Silver in the 100m and Bronze in the 50m Breaststroke at the Championships as well as finishing 6th in the Final of the 200m event. McSharry had also set Irish Junior Records in the 100m and 200m Breaststroke earlier in the year, collected five titles at the national championships in April and qualified for and competed at European Senior Championships in May.
Oliver Dingley’s Coach Damian Ball collected the 2016 honour of Performance Coach of the Year. Ball was instrumental in leading Dingley’s rise through the international ranks this year and is intrinsic in the building and developing of the up and coming divers at the National Aquatic Centre.
The Awards were announced at this weekend’s Irish Open Short Course Championships taking place in Lisburn.