Thursday 23 November 2017

Ballinaboola Olympian Grainne Murphy ready for her moment with destiny


THIS SUNDAY Ballinaboola's Gráinne Murphy will place both feet on the starting block of the 400m freestyle race in the London Olympics and the whole of Wexford will take a deep breath with her.

The blue water below her will be eerily still and she will wait for the gun that will send her flying spear-like into the pool and with her will go years of preparation, hours upon hours of hard training, sacrifice, defeats, victories, tears, smiles, clenched fists, raised arms, bowed heads and words of praise and congratulations.

When first she rises out of the water she might, if she were listening, hear the crowd screaming her name but this is Gráinne Murphy - driven, devoted and not prone to being sidetracked by raucous noise or any other element outside of her concentration.

The 19-year-old is participating in her first Olympics and is there on merit and with a real chance of making the final should she swim to the best of her ability on the day.

Joining the Wexford native are the world's finest swimmers, the 800m Beijing bronze medallist Lotte Friis and Olympic champion Jessica Adlington.

In March she travelled over to Denmark and trained with Friis. She swam in their championships and bettered her 800m time as well as setting a P.B. for her 400m freestyle.

Gráinne will fly to London tomorrow and race on Sunday. Her time this year for the 800m freestyle is 8:29.55 minutes.

Adlington's best is 8:18.54, while Kate Ledecky swam 8:19.78 seconds in the U.S. Olympic trials last month, which puts her second in the world to the British swimmer.

Friis's best time is 8:22.10, which puts her at fourth place in the world rankings. Gráinne's mark is ten seconds behind the top-end competitors and in 22nd place on the ranking table so she knows the task that faces her.

The three-time European championship winner qualified for the Olympics at the Dutch Open Championships in the Pieter Van Den Hoogenband Complex, Eindhoven, following a fantastic performance.

She'll need another one of those to make the final and nobody doubts that such a race is well within her grasp and ability.

We'll watch on Sunday as one of our own places both feet on the starting block in the London Olympics and we'll cheer her through that water with every breath in our lungs.

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