The 16-year-old from Sligo will brush shoulders with Ireland's Olympians this summer
Record-setting teenager Mona McSharry says she was surprised to get the call-up from Swim Ireland to represent her country at the FINA World Championships in Budapest this summer.
Still competing in the junior ranks, the Sligo native will make the step up to senior level and compete alongside Irish Olympians Nicholas Quinn, Shane Ryan and Oliver Dingley.
Speaking to Newstalk.com, the Marlins Club swimmer said being elevated to the senior ranks was a massive bonus for her.
"It’s my last year as a junior, so it was my aim to go to the Junior World Championships," she explained. "I’m ranked high enough that a realistic target was to go to the World Juniors and compete well."
The move comes after McSharry dominated the Breaststroke discipline at the Irish Open in April. Her time of 1:07.38 in the 100m final surpassed her previous junior record of 1:07.75 and she inches closer to the Irish record set by Olympian Fiona Doyle.
Her overall performance saw her set three national junior records in the 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke events.
The result left her well within the time for consideration for the World Championships.
"It wasn’t in my sights this year, so to be able to get into the team is magnificent. I’m not even a senior and I get to go and experience this now."
Mona McSharry on her way to winning winning the Women 200 Meter Breaststroke Final. Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Last year was her first experience at senior level when she travelled to the European Championships at just 15.
She admits being around such an experienced team put her at ease when competing.
"It’s great to have the chance to learn from these guys. The team we have now at the minute is excellent, very experienced.
"There’s a big team going and they’re people we’ve been training with for the last three or four years. It’s good to see them get on as well as I have."
Swim Ireland gear up for a busy year after National Performance Director Jon Rudd brought on board two assistant coaches into the National Performance Programme. The body is still yet to appoint a National Head Coach.
"We’ve been in touch a lot. There are new ideas on the table that will definitely be on the table for next year. It’s great to see what they’re thinking and the plans they have set out to get me to the Olympics 2020."
In terms of her preparation for the championships, she said: "The training doesn’t change. I’ll be preparing myself as best I can when I’m over there because I’ll only be competing in one event.
"So if I put in the same work that got me to this point, I’ll get more of the same results."