NAC’s Scully bids farewell to Paralympic career

by Stephen Findlater

NAC swimmer James Scully announced that he is retiring from Paralympic Swimming on Tuesday following a groundbreaking career.

He last represented Ireland at the World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships that took place in the Sport Ireland National Aquatic Centre last August.

It was a fitting venue to close out the career, the place he started his odyssey when he joined the National Aquatic Centre swim team in 2006.

He finished in fourth place at the 2010 World Championships in Eindhoven, also finishing in fourth in the same 200m Freestyle at the European Championships in 2011.

He was named as the Disability Swimmer of the Year that year before competing in his first Paralympic Games in London 2012.

Between 2013 and 2014, Scully enjoyed his most successful period in terms of results as he won a bronze medal at the World Championships in Montreal in the 200m freestyle and, in 2014, he added two European bronze medals in the 100m and 200m finals.

He contested his second Paralympic Games in Rio when he reached finals in both the 100m and 200m freestyle events, swimming his best ever times in both events as he finished in 7th place overall.

Speaking about his retirement, Scully said: “I feel proud of what I achieved competing for Ireland. It was fitting that my career came to an end in the NAC which was where it all started for me 12 years ago.

“I would like to thank all of my coaches and team mates for everything that they did for me during my time swimming for my country. I can now look forward to cheering them on in Tokyo.

“Swimming was a huge part of my life and it probably all centred around swimming in college and school and even when I started working. It’s hard to move away – don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying the break and not getting up so early in the mornings! – but life moves on.

As for going out on a high at his home venue, he added: “I started at the Aquatic Centre in 2006 without any real targets; just to get in the pool and see where it would go. It was nice to have the whole family there, my friends and the whole community.

“You always want to finish on a high. My big concern was under performing. I was juggling a career and wasn’t as fit as I had been before. The fear was I would be emotionally in the zone but not fit enough. I still managed to go under three minutes in the 200m which was a surprise even to myself. I had only done that once in my career!”

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