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Swimming: Murphy books London place

SWIM Ireland's national performance director Peter Banks insists that the country is on course to complete the four-year goal of having six swimmers at London 2012, following Grainne Murphy's qualification for the Olympics.

Murphy finished well inside the required time of 8:33.84 for automatic qualification when she clocked 8:31.44 in the 800m freestyle, finishing third overall in the final at the Dutch Open Championships in Eindhoven on Saturday.

Murphy will join namesake Barry Murphy on the plane for London and while Melanie Nocher and Sycerika McMahon did not manage to hit their times, both came close enough in the 200m backstroke and 100m breaststroke respectively to suggest they will be there as well, according to Banks.

Banks said: "I'm very pleased for Grainne. She was disappointed with the World Championships in the summer, but in her first competition back she has qualified for London and that takes all the pressure off her.

"It means now that we have two booked for London, Barry Murphy has done his time and that is two more than we had at the same time ahead of Beijing.

"I have always said that we wanted six swimmers to qualify for London and that is still the goal."

Ireland's 4x200m freestyle women's relay team of McMahon, Nocher, Bethany Carson and Clare Dawson took bronze, finishing behind the Spanish and Dutch national squads in a time of 8:10.97.

Irish Independent