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Murphy's route to World dream

Teenage swimming sensation Grainne Murphy left Eindhoven yesterday after claiming two bronze medals at the European Short Course Championships in the 800m freestyle and 400m freestyle, the second coming on Saturday night when Ulsterwoman Melanie Nocher came fifth.

Yesterday, Murphy gave another powerful performance to make the final of the 400m individual medley in 4:39.19 before finishing seventh with 4:37.47.

Murphy's coach Ronald Claes said he was not only impressed with the Wexford 17-year-old's speed but also the changes she was able to implement throughout the four days of competition as he plots a route to success in the World Long Course Championships in Shanghai next summer.

Claes said: "Everything is looking very good at this point, everything that we have been doing is part of leading up to Shanghai.

"This has been an excellent championships in terms of her achievements but also overall training.

"I was able to give Grainne certain things to work on in different races and she took it on board and performed very well, such as in the 200m freestyle when it was all about technique and stroke rate and she executed that very well.

"Then in the medley, I wanted her to improve her turns which she did.

"Again Grainne has shown that she has great strength and stamina and it has been great for her training programme.

"It's very encouraging and exciting when you're taking the long-term view."

Team-mate Nocher missed out on the 200m backstroke final, finishing 14th overall with 2:08.79. Aisling Cooney clocked 2:12.91 in the morning heats.