Limerick’s Róisín Ní Riain swims her way to two medals, including a gold in the 100m backstroke at the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships. Photo: Paralynpics Ireland/Twitter
Limerick’s Róisín Ní Riain swims her way to two medals, including a gold in the 100m backstroke at the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships
Visually impaired Limerick Paralympian Roisin Ni Riain of Drombanna has won gold medal in the 100m backstroke at the Para Swimming World Championships in Manchester, an event she won in a Personal Best of a little over a minute.
“I really don’t know what to say to be honest, I’m absolutely delighted with that swim.
Very unexpected but it’s a lovely surprise,” said the modest teenager.
The 2023 World Para Swimming Championships was the 12th edition of the competition with this year’s championships taking place in Manchester from July 31 to August 6.
Ní Riain, competing in the S13 (visual impairment) races, started the week on a high when she took second place in the 100m Butterfly, adding a silver medal to the bronze won in the 2020 World Para Swimming European Open Championships.
Ní Riain’s performance on Monday, July 31, saw her set a new personal best at 01:06.00 – two seconds quicker than her previous time – while snatching the silver medal and earning her a place with Team Ireland for Paris 2024.
The gold medal came in a close battle, winning gold beating her competition by 0.09 seconds, which also saw the Limerick swimmer set a new personal best and securing another spot for Team Ireland in Paris 2024.
Speaking following her achievements and how it feels to have won her first championships gold medal, Róisín said, “I’m glad that I was able to come out tonight and prove that, so I have a day off tomorrow to just rest, to recover as much as possible so that I can set myself up for my last two events.”
Paralympian Roisin Ni Riain came to international prominence at the Tokyo Paralympics when, on her Paralympic debut and at just 16 years old, she made the finals in each of her six events.
“In Limerick, all high-performance swimmers train together. I thrive in being in a big group of people with so much competition. You have swimmer’s preparing for the Olympics and the Paralympics all training together; that is a wonderful thing. I’m treated the same and I like that,” she said.
She also provides advice on how sports clubs could be open and inclusive.
“You mightn’t know anything about an athlete’s specific disability so ask them to tell you what they’re experiencing and learn together and see what works.”
Róisín has been swimming since she was six and trains with Swim Ireland’s elite training squad at the University of Limerick.
She has just started her final year of secondary school at the Gaelcholaiste in Limerick City. She will complete her Leaving Cert next Summer, despite a training schedule that sees her do nine two-hour pool sessions a week, most of them done before school every morning.
Speaking on her victory, Limerick swimmer Roisin commented “I am absolutely delighted, I wasn’t expecting it, I was hoping but I wasn’t expecting it so I am absolutely thrilled,”
“I am so so happy and I really couldn’t have gotten to it without the help of everyone – all the staff here, Paralympics Ireland, all my coaches, friends and family back home so it’s a massive thanks to them as well for their support and encouragement.”
Congratulations to Roisin on her huge achievement and best of luck in the next few competitions to come.