Ennis native Chris Bryan kicked off Ireland’s campaign at the World Long Couse Swimming Championships in Shanghai, China today finnishing 33rd out of 67 starters in the 10 kilometre open water event at Jinshan City Beach , in a time of 1.56:52.8.
The race was won by Spyros Gianniotis(Greece) in a time of 1.54:24.7, followed by Thomas Lurz (Germany) 1.54:27.2 and Sergey Bolshakov (Russia) 1.54:31.8
Performance Director Peter Banks said ” Its a great result for Chris , who is the first Irish swimmer to compete in the open water event at this level. He’s made the transition from pool to open water in a very tough and competitive event”
Bryan, 21 arrived in China at the weekend from the Irish training base in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where he was preparing with teammates Clare Dawson, Sycerika McMahon, Barry Murphy, Gráinne Murphy and Melanie Nocher, for the eight day meet in Shanghai. Chris was the first to reach Shanghai, ahead of the others who will arrive later this week.
Peter Banks alongside coaches Ronald Claes and Damien Bryan (open water) are heading up the team staff, together with team managers Michael Dennihan and Alan Nocher, physiotherapist Scott Murphy, biomechanist Conor Osborough and team doctor Suzi Clarke.
The top swimmers in the world will descend upon Shanghai this week, including Michael Phelps, the most successful swimmer of all time. With the focus firmly set on the London 2012 Olympic Games, this meet is critical in the build up to qualification for the Games, and Swim Ireland hopes to have two Olympic ‘A’ standards achieved by an Irish swimmer at the meet.
Bryan, who trains alongside Gráinne Murphy under the watchful eye of coach Ronald Claes at Swim Ireland’s Limerick High Performance Centre, will become the first Irish open water swimmer to race for Ireland at a World Championships. The ten best ranked at this event gain a place in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Bryan wil have another opportunity next year at the World Cup meet in Portugal next year to make qualification.