Murphy smashes Irish record to claim European silver medal
Grainne Murphy produced an outstanding performance at the European Swimming Championships in Budapest yesterday to claim the silver medal in the 1500m freestyle.
In a brilliant swim, the 17-year-old prodigy set a new Irish record with a time of 16.02:29, knocking another eight seconds off her own record from her swim on Friday, when she broke the record by 18 seconds.
Swimming in lane four, Murphy trailed Lottie Friis for the duration of the race as the experienced Danish swimmer proved too strong, taking gold in a time of 15.59.01. Spain's Erika Garcia took the bronze.
"I just kept focusing on my own race," said Murphy afterwards. "I didn't allow my head to wander into any of the others lanes to see what they were doing.
"I took a different approach to my race today as I did in the heats yesterday after discussing race tactics with my coach Ronald [Claes], and it really paid off. It felt amazing to win a medal at this kind of meet and standing on the podium beside Lotte Friis just felt brilliant."
Minister for Sport Mary Hanafin praised Murphy's achievement in winning Ireland's 10th ever medal in the pool at the European Championships.
"To have achieved this level of success at such a young age certainly holds the promise of a very bright future for Grainne as an elite athlete," said the minister.
"She has demonstrated single-minded commitment in her endeavour to improve her times and swimming technique and has certainly reaped the benefit in all of the qualifiers and both finals throughout these championships."
The 1500m freestyle was Murphy's third final of the week. She narrowly missed out on a medal in the women's 800m freestyle on Thursday, coming fourth in a new national record of 8.25.04, while last Monday she took seventh in the 400m individual medley.
But the Wexford star, who has now set four national records at these championships, could yet add another medal to yesterday's silver as she has the 400m freestyle heats to come this morning.
Elsewhere, in the men's 50m freestyle final, Ireland's Barry Murphy finished in a disappointing eighth position in a time of 27.96 seconds.
It was a disappointing showing by Ireland's sprint specialist who had qualified for the final by swimming 27.60 in Friday evening's semi-final.