Gráinne Murphy narrowly missed out on a place in the 1500m freestyle final early this morning at the World Long Course Swimming Championships after she placed 10th overall following the conclusion of the heats. The eighteen year-old distance freestyle and individual medley specialist won her own heat by a massive 8 seconds in 16:14.81 and the closest rival to finish behind her was Great Britain’s Keri-Anne Payne (16:23.11). But only the top 8 swimmers progressed through to tomorrow evening’s final. Denmark’s Lotte Friis came through as the fastest qualifier in 16:00.47, followed by Yiwen Shao of China (16:01.72) and USA’s Kate Ziegler (16:02.53).
“That was a fast 1500m this morning. It was difficult for Grainne being in the first of the seeded heats and out on her own. She probably could have gone faster if she was pushed and in a quicker heat,” commented Peter Banks, National Performance Director for Swim Ireland following the race, “Gráinne always takes well to a challenge and unfortunately she didn’t have that this morning.”
Grainne’s coach Ronald Claes said “I think she had a great swim, the unfortunate thing was she had to swim all by herself. Those girls [swimmers in the 2 heats following Grainne’s heat] saw Grainne’s time and they just raced each other, I think there were 5 or 6 girls in that heat racing each other, and Grainne didn’t have that race so that was a big disadvantage for someone like Grainne who likes a race and always goes faster when there is a race – she didn’t get that today.”
Murphy completed the second half of her Leaving Certificate examinations this summer before heading to the Irish team training camp in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia two weeks ago. Following her 1500m race but before the event had completed [there were two more heats remaining], a relaxed Murphy commented “I’m going to go back and swim down, get a massage and see what happens. I’ve got the 800m later on in the week and the 400m IM and we have the 4x200m relay so there’s still lots of events more to come. Everyone is really excited about it [relay] and it’s great to be able to do a relay here and see what comes out of it.”
In other exciting news today from Shanghai, junior swimmer Sycerika McMahon set a new Irish Junior record in the 100m breaststroke in a time of 1:09.91. It was a phenomenal swim and a personal best time by over half a second for the Portaferry teenager who, just two weeks ago picked up three medals [2 gold and 1 silver] at the European Junior Championships in Belgrade.
“I did what I wanted to do, I got a pb so I’m really pleased with that. I was trying to go out fast because if I get out fast usually I can maintain it so that was my aim. I think I got out fast enough and tried to keep ahead of the girl next to me,” commented McMahon after the race.
McMahon had a full programme of races at the European Juniors earlier this month and still has the 4x200m freestyle relay here on Thursday and the 50m breaststroke on Saturday to prepare for.
“Usually if I have more races, I think that I don’t have to concentrate on one and I can get too focused on one maybe. So yeah, more races seems to help me. As far as swimming the Junior Europeans and then here, it’s my first time doing that so I’m not really sure if that helps,” said the sixteen year-old.
Melanie Nocher finished her heat of the 100m backstroke this morning in 1:03.43, just over a second outside her personal best but looks ahead to her other events this week – the 200m freestyle tomorrow, the 4x200m freestyle relay (Thursday) and the 200m backstroke (Friday).
“It’s not the time really I wanted, don’t really know what happened. I’ve just got to try and keep focused. I felt really good going into that, ideally I would have liked faster,” said a disappointed Nocher after the race.
Ireland in action tomorrow: Barry Murphy (50m breaststroke), Melanie Nocher (200m freestyle).
Day 2 Results:
W 100m backstroke: M. Nocher 1:03.43, 37th place
W 100m breaststroke: S. McMahon 1:09.91, 27th place *Irish Junior Record*
W 1500m freestyle: G. Murphy 16:14.81, 10th place