Hyland and Coyne delighted to be back

By Stephen Leonard

TALLAGHT and National Centre swimmers Brendan Hyland and Niamh Coyne were delighted to be finally back in the pool this week, training for what is sure to be a big year ahead for both of them.

The two were part of a five-strong group that returned to the NAC on Monday morning, and both were thrilled to be back in familiar surrounds following the government’s decision to facilitate the return of high performance athletes and teams as well as their support staff to designated training centres from Monday.

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Tallaght and National Centre swimmer Brendan Hyland was delighted to make a return to training at the NAC this week for what was the start of preparation for major events in 2021

“I’m delighted to get back” Hyland told The Echo . “It’s been eight or nine weeks and that’s the longest I’m been out since my Junior Cert summer.

“So you’re talking about ten years and I’m not even sure if it was as long as that back then.

“I was even a bit nervous going back. It was strange, I was worried I wouldn’t be good, but it didn’t feel as bad as I thought I might.

“There were five of us in the pool, myself Jordan Sloan, Darragh Greene, Shane Ryan and Niamh Coyne.

“They have it set up well. They have a thermal scanner to take our temperature when we go in and we all have our stations spread out across the pool” he explained.

2018 Youth Olympic Games silver medallist in the 100m Breaststroke, Coyne was equalled pleased to be back in the water, telling The Echo “It was just so good to finally be back. It felt like forever being out of the pool. It’s the longest I’ve ever been out of it.

“They have a good set-up there but it’s a bit strange with it being so strict now.

“But it’s good to be back even more mentally rather than physically because, beforehand, we would have been training six days a week and then, for it all to just completely stop, it was very hard” she said.

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Niamh Coyne from Ballycullen was also among those high-performance swimmers back in training at the NAC

With the World Short Course Championships in December having been cancelled, there is not likely to be any prospect of international competition for Hyland and Coyne.

Still they know 2021 is going to be a massive year with the Olympic Trials reportedly rescheduled for April while it is hoped the European Championships can be run the following month.

Coyne, herself, believes that having the extra year will improve her chances of the qualification.

“I’m only 18 now so I do think it’s given me a better chance, just to have another year to get ready  for those competitions” said the 100m and 200m Breaststroke specialist.

Knocklyon man, Hyland will be aiming to build on his brilliant performances at last year’s FINA World Swimming Championships in South Korea where he just missed out on the Olympic Games standard in the 200m Butterfly.

Qualifying for the semi finals, he clocked a new PB and Irish record of 1:56.55 that was fractionally outside the Olympic requirement of 1:56.48 as he took sixth place in the penultimate round and 11th overall.

Relay competition may also provide another route to Olympic qualification for Hyland who played his part in national record-breaking displays with both the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle and 4x100m Medley at last year’s Worlds.

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