Darragh Greene is one of Ireland's young hopefuls for next year's Tokyo Olympics. Swimming since the tender age of 8, Darragh has just about literally been training all his life for this opportunity, and a little bit of lockdown won't get in his way!
We caught up with Darragh to talk about his training routine and his road to the Olympics!
Tell me about your hero
I have looked up to many heroes along my journey through sport, definitely the most recent one would be watching “The Last Dance” documentary of Michael Jordan.
What’s your biggest fear?
Talk to me about your community and what they mean to you?
I am from a village in Longford called Newtownforbes, and the community support from the village and the town itself has been amazing throughout my swimming career which I am very grateful for and proud of. I have also partnered up with my local leisure centre to help give back to the community's younger and older generations by planning clinics and meet & greets for the swimming clubs and the leisure centre members. I have also planned doing the same in 9 other communities around Ireland once the lockdown and restrictions ease, which I'm really looking forward to.
What keeps you motivated?
Just being able to have this opportunity to represent my community and my country, and strive towards my goals and to compete against the best in the world. This is my first Olympics. My vibe now is really to take every day as it comes regarding training. Make sure I’m healthy and focus on the end result. Be consistent, stay in the water. The one thing you don’t wanna do is get sick!
What’s a childhood memory that you look back on with fondness?
The All Ireland Community Games which I won, that would have my most earliest and fondness memory.
How long have you been swimming and how did you get into competitive swimming? I have been swimming since the age of 8 years old and I got into competitive swimming through my local club Longford Swimming Club where I learned how to first swim. Competition started when I was around 8 onwards, not a lot of competitions for that age group, but the community is really big in Ireland so the older you get the more you’re competing.
What does your normal training routine look like?
I train 6 days a week, 9 pool sessions lasting anywhere from 2/2.5 hours and 3 gym sessions lasting around 1 hour and a half. Key sessions revolve around high-intensity race-pace training, which is basically replicating racing scenarios. We also do skills & drills which breaks down the mechanics of your stroke plus aerobic work and active recovery. Active recovery we do if we’ve completed a hard session that morning or the day before, giving your body time to recover but doing it actively - so swimming and keeping the feel of the water - it helps you get through the week.
How did the Covid crisis affect/change your training?
I was out of the water for 10 weeks which is the longest I have ever been out in my whole swimming career. I was fortunate to get support from Sport Ireland Institute and Coral Leisure Centre in Longford who supplied me with gym and cardio equipment to keep up my strength and fitness.
Tell me about your road to the Olympics!
I hold the Irish record for 50m and 100m breaststroke - 26.9 seconds + 59.82 seconds and I was the first Irish swimmer ever to go under a minute for breaststroke. I’ve done the qualification and pre-validated myself for the Olympic games when I swam at the Irish Olympic Trials and I did the world champs in South Korea, which was an experience in itself - we got to go to Japan too, to try out the Olympic holding camp. Get a taste of it, so you know what to expect. I’ve been fortunate. It’s heartbreaking for loads of the lads who were ready for April and then to be told they couldn’t trial.
What tips would you give young sportspeople like yourself?
Keep an eye on Darragh as he preps for big things next year!