Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Swim Ireland chief has no fear over Sycerika McMahon's funding

Sycerika McMahon

Swim Ireland's Chief Executive Sarah Keane has dismissed any concerns over top swimmer Sycerika McMahon losing her funding over an inability to compete in her main events at the World Championships next week.

McMahon has spoken of her bitter disappointment of being unaware that she had to clock the FINA A qualification time within the period of July 1 2012 to July 1 2013, having made the times for both the 50m and 100m breaststroke events at the European Championships last year in Hungary.

Having not competed in her main events, she missed the cut off point and due to Limerick's Fiona Doyle making the A times it meant she was unable to compete in the 50m and 100m breaststroke as she only had B standard times.

McMahon's disappointment also led the 18-year-old to fear that her funding from the Irish Sports Council would be cut if she did not make semi-finals in the 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley in Barcelona.

But Swim Ireland chief Keane, who is at FINA World Congress in Barcelona, said: "Where Sycerika's funding is concerned, I don't see there being an issue for 2013.

"The funding is about the pathway to Rio 2016 and not just about one competition. Of course funding is determined on performances but I don't see Sycerika's funding for 2013 being affected at all and it will be up to us to liaise with the Sports Councils in this regard.

"Of course once she goes to her new base at university in Texas then we will have to consult on just what funding she is permitted to have because the college system in the States have their own rules over funding for athletes on scholarships."

Keane is also adamant that the situation McMahon finds herself in should never happen again and that steps will be taken to avoid such a problem arising.

She added: "There needs to be learning from what has happened and we can all learn a lot from this situation. Sycerika didn't receive any less or any more information than any other swimmer but as a result of this situation we will be making clear to every athlete and every coach the detailed rules of every major competition and we will require more input into the decision making regarding the events swimmers will be participating in at meets generally.

"I feel that we need a more cohesive and better understanding between the Performance Director, the swimmers and their individual coaches of each party's responsibilities in relation to performance, meets and delivery of results and maybe as part of this we need to state more specifically just what the responsibilities are of the Performance Director in overseeing the development of the High Performance athletes.

"So going forward there will have to be changes."

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