Tallaght’s Niamh Coyne took silver in the women’s 100m breaststroke with a time of 1:08.90, marking one of the highlights of the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.
In the process, the 17-year-old claimed Ireland’s first ever swimming medal at the event.
Coyne, who trains at Swim Ireland’s National Centre in Dublin, turned sixth at the halfway mark of the final and then had a blistering last 25 metres to finish in 1.08.90 for second place.
The Tallaght native had progressed to the final after swimming 1.09.24 in the heats and had advanced from the semi-final in third place in 1.08.90, the same time as her medal winning swim.
“I wasn’t really expecting to medal out here, it’s October which is a weird time for swimmers. I was really happy with it. The first 50 I build and get my turn right, and then after that just go for it.”
At the halfway point Coyne was lying sixth, with compatriot Mona McSharry leading, Coyne said; “I couldn’t really see anyone, even with the turn, I couldn’t see anyone so I didn’t know where I was. I just thought touch the wall, for the last 25 metres. I was just shocked and just happy, this is proba-bly my top achievement. I still have the 200 left, I’ll probably keep my head down until that’s over.”
McSharry was agonisingly close to a medal in the same race, finishing in fourth place for the second time this week. The 18-year-old Ballyshannon Marlins swimmer lead for the majority of the race but was caught in the end by Makarova of Russia and Coyne and pipped at the very end by Lithuania’s Teterevkova missing the podium by just two hundredths of a second, touching in 1.08.97.
McSharry was swimming out in Lane 1 and had a much-improved performance from the semi-final where she had progressed in eight in 1.09.74.
Earlier in the week, Coyne also finished well in the 50m breaststroke, ending in fifht place overall with a time of 32.02 seconds.