IRELAND’S OLYMPIC CHIEFS were right to bring Grainne Murphy to London, despite a virus disrupting her preparation earlier in the year, which has now caused her to call time on her Olympic dream.
The Wexford native pulled out of tomorrow’s 800m freestyle event after consulting with Chef de Mission, Sonia O’Sullivan and Swim Ireland performance chief, Peter Banks.
“At the end of march Grainne competed in Denmark at the Danish Olympic trials where she put down two world class times,” the UL based athlete’s coach, Ronald Claes told TheScore.ie yesterday in London.
“And after that she got sick — she got a throat infection, is what starred it and after that she didn’t look right in the water. It kept going on for a bit too long for me anyway and we went digging a bit further and there was a virus in her blood and from there on she obviously had to take some rest and she was in and out of the pool.
“And for a few weeks was completly off. And then after that it was the end of April she started building up again which was better at this stage. Then we’ve adapted her training according to how she was feeling day in day out. Whatever was planned was very hard to stick to that.
“Now after the last few months since then she did everything she possibly could to get here and to get a race in and race to the best of her abilities and we’ve adapted her original goals for this meet for that. But then she swam the 400 and it wasn’t what we were hoping for. So after that we had a good chat and she just felt it was best not to start any more.”
And the Belgian coach insists the decision to bring a below-par Murphy is worth it for the experience she gains.
“I think she did everything she possibly could to bring her to an Olympic Games,” he told Will Downing. “It was going to be very hard but I mean she’s got one – maybe two Olympics — left in her and I think it was very important to come her and get the experience of an Olympics. It’s not just a European or world championships where you might get 10 in your career; an Olympics you might only get two, maybe three. So it’s an invaluable experience and not coming her was not an option.”
Murphy who had already pulled out of the 200m freestyle, was hoping to be fit for the 800m, but after she finished last in her 400m heat, the decision had to be made, Claes says.
“Obviously she was devastated with the whole thing. You come her to swim your lifetime best and obviously that didn’t happen but it was worse than that, she had to pull out. It’s not a nice experience but she’ll get over it.”