Grainne Murphy retires at age of 22 as illness derails Rio hopes
Published 24/02/2016 | 02:30
Olympic star Grainne Murphy has retired from competitive swimming after fears her recent illness would impact her levels of competitiveness in Rio this summer.
The 22-year-old, who won three gold medals and a bronze at the 2009 European Junior Championships, says she will retire with many happy memories.
"After thinking long and hard I have finally come to the decision to hang up my hat and goggles at international level," she said in a statement.
"I have had many amazing experiences during my years as a high performance swimmer and I will treasure them for the rest of my life."
Following her exploits at the Junior Championships and World Championships, Murphy was named Young Sports Star of the Year in 2009 and 2010, but admits the London 2012 games was a huge disappointment.
"Quite publicly, things did not go well for me in 2012 when I suffered from glandular fever which forced me to withdraw after the heats of the 400 freestyle," she said.
"It was a slow road to recovery and in 2014 things finally improved.
"I then made the decision to move to France to train. Living in another country was an amazing life experience.
"I reached a crossroads in November. I suffered a severe lung infection that took a long time to recover from. I realised that while I might make an Olympic qualification time for Rio, I did not feel like I would be competitive at the Games.
"I have always maintained that if I go to a major championship I want to be at the top of my game and in the mix.
"I am finishing my studies in exercise and health fitness in the University of Limerick.
"I am excited for what the future may hold for me and I would love to work in the sports industry in some way."
CEO of Sport Ireland John Treacy has described Murphy as an "exceptional swimmer".
"She was an exceptional swimmer blessed with great athletic ability, work ethic and ability to perform on the big stage," he said.
"Grainne won medals at junior and senior level and no doubt she would have won many more except for injury and illness.
"Today is a day for remembering and celebrating her achievements and acknowledging her contribution to Irish swimming."