murphy focused on living up to great expectations
SWIMMING: Grainne Murphy may be Ireland's best hope of a medal at the European Short Course Championships in Eindhoven but coach Ronald Claes says that she handles the expectations with a maturity beyond her years, WRITES MARK O'DRISCOLL.
Murphy, who took 1,500m freestyle silver at the European Long Course Championships during the summer, starts her campaign today along with fellow Irish team members, Olympians Melanie Nocher and Aisling Cooney.
The 17-year-old has been working at her base in Limerick under the watchful eye of Claes, who has brought her through from elite junior to top senior swimmer.
While everyone in Irish swimming will be hoping she grabs another medal in Eindhoven, Claes is adamant that these championships are just part of a year-long programme leading up to next year's World Long Course Championships.
"Grainne is very focused, she's just the way she has always been and our programme between September and Christmas has remained the same," he said.
"There was a lot of interest and media requests after the medal in the summer, but everything has been managed around her training -- that comes first.
"She's in a very good training environment and that helps. We are always looking to improve, always looking at technique -- like every other swimmer in Ireland -- and the hard work we do now is what we build the rest of the season on. I'm not sure whether she will get a medal, but we'll look for her to get some PBs (personal bests) and see where that takes her. She'll certainly be giving it all she can in all her events -- she's put in a lot of miles."
Murphy will start her campaign with the 200m individual medley today, while Cooney and Nocher are in the 100m backstroke.