Brendan Hyland sets his sights on Tokyo 2020

Conor Breslin

DCU graduate Brendan Hyland has put the Swimming World Championship in South Korea last July behind him to focus on his next step in qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next April in Blanchardstown. 

Hyland from Tallaght swam a time of 1:56:55 placing sixth in his semi-final of the 200m butterfly. However, he was just seven-hundredths of a second outside the Tokyo qualifying mark.

His semi-final time was the second time in a day he’d set a new Irish best time, after swimming a 1:57:21 in the heats. This was on top of him already breaking two Irish national records back in December 2018.

Speaking of the World Championships Hyland said: “I was obviously disappointed that I didn’t qualify but you have to move on and look at the positives, it was the best swim of my life.”

Hyland will have another chance to make the Tokyo 2020 grade at the Swim Ireland Olympic Trials in April next year in Blanchardstown.

“My plan at the moment is to build up and do plenty of gym work in preparation for the upcoming European short-course championships in Glasgow on December 4th and then after Christmas get my fitness back in preparation for April,” said Hyland.

Hyland who was only recently named Irish Swimmer of the Year recalls how he got into what is a minority sport in Ireland.

“When I grew up in Tallaght there was a swimming pool, Balrothery Swimming Pool, not far down my estate. I was first taking to swimming lessons at the age of three. When we were all learning the basics of swimming like the front crawl, I was bouncing in and out of the water like a dolphin. I just felt comfortable doing it, so I think that was the start of me doing the butterfly stroke and here I am doing it all these years later,” said Hyland.

While speaking on his love for the sport, Hyland admits that it took him time to excel and dominate at swimming.

“I didn’t really start to get good at swimming until I was about fourteen. All the other lads who I was competing against were so much bigger and taller than me, so when I reached the same size as the other competitors I quickly went from a swimmer who wasn’t winning anything at U16 competitions to placing in the European Junior Championships and breaking the Irish Junior and Senior record.”

“I knocked 20 seconds off my 200m Butterfly, which is a seriously significant drop and I was two seconds away from an Olympic qualification time for Rio 2016,” Hyland told The College View.

Even though Hyland has just finished his studies in Accounting & Finance, he is still active within the University through coaching roles and can swim with DCU for another year.

Conor Breslin

Image Credit: RTE