THE MAN CHARGED with making sure Ireland’s swimmers perform on the biggest stage they’ll learn from their disappointing London Olympics meet.
Grainne Murphy cut her Olympics short due to the effects of a viral infection, Melanie Nocher yesterday cited a stomach bug as the reason for a poor showing in her event, the 200m backstroke, while Barry Murphy performed below his best earlier in the week.
“We set a high standard to get here with the four A standards and we set ourselves some goals when we got here to try and make a top 16 or even a top eight,” Swim Ireland performance chief Peter Banks told TheScore today.
“Looking at where the results are, what made the top 16 and what made top eight, we certainly had the atheltes who could have done those things. But unfortunately, whether you want to put it down to luck or just where we are at the moment it just didn’t hit it right on the week. It’s disappointing, especially when you know you have the athletes that can get there.
“And I’m sorry we didn’t make it work but I think we’ve learned a lot and looking at how we plan the next four years is going to helps us look to the future and help the young swimmers coming up and obviously the ones that are here at the moment it’ll helps those in the futre as well.
“I don’t think there’s a blame thing here; I just think it’s just one of those things. On your day, this is what sport is. I mean you get to the Games and sometimes it doesn’t happen at the right time. We put a lot of emphasis on getting to the Games and that’s an achievement but we have to make sure we perform when we do get to the Games. And that’s always been my motto, we want to be at the Games and actually performing.
“And we didn’t perform this time and that’s disappointing for me as a performance director because I know what our athletes are capable of. But we have to take the learnings from it and move forward.”
Grainne Murphy is widely considered our most talented swimmer and Banks insists she could have impressed in different circumstances.
“You saw a swimmer that desperately wanted to try and compete,” he told Will Downing in London. “We felt that she would have been a little bit better than that and obviously it wasn’t quite where we wanted her to be. And when she swam the 4.19 we felt that it wasn’t in her best interests to put her into that race and look at the 800. Looking at what made the 800 final and knowing she went 8.29 three or four months ago is bitterly disappointing because we know we had the athlete that could have made a final here at his Olympics. and that’s just unfortunate. We have to take solace in the fact that we have a great athlete there.”