Getting to the Olympic stage is “the best reward one can get from their sport,” according to Ballina swimmer Finn McGeever.
He is part of the 4x200m freestyle relay team that will take to the water in Tokyo and the past pupil of St Anne’s Community College in Killaloe is anxious to make a splash.
Now in his second year studying Maths and Physics at the University of Limerick, Finn had been part of the National Transition swimming squad in Limerick, reaching the European Junior Championships in 2018 in Helsinki, Sweden.
Enjoyment has become a key aspect of his performance. “Before when I was swimming bad, swimming was just my entire life. I was in college and I wasn’t going out much because of swimming and I just think it was the wrong decision. A happy swimmer is a fast swimmer, so I learned to enjoy myself”.
This shift in perspective arrived after he broke his left arm less than two years ago, a run of poor form before the onset of COVID-19 made him question his future in the sport, “I was nearly ready to hang up the hat and goggles,” he admitted.
Regular swims in Lough Derg with his mother Roisin combined with Zoom classes and use of a punching bag helped to find form and speed.
In April, he set the new Irish record for 400m freestyle with a time of 3:52:83 as he knocked a very impressive fifteen seconds off his preliminary time.
For Tokyo, Finn is one of two ‘relay only’ swimmers – Jack McMillan is the other, they will compete alongside Brendan Hyland and Shane Ryan. For the future, he is optimistic, “I’m just hopeful anyway for the future of my swimming just because things are kind of going well and when this is happening, sport almost feels like you can’t be stopped. It just feels great”.