Swimming: Teen star Murphy fastest into European long course championships final but agony for Bree
Grainne Murphy came up with a memorable performance in Budapest yesterday but for Andrew Bree it was a day to forget.
After failing to make the semi-finals of the 200m breaststroke at the European long course championships, Bree has a lot of hard work to do over the next two months in order to be sparking on all cylinders for the Commonwealth Games in October.
In stark contrast, 17-year-old Murphy was simply sensational as she qualified fastest for the final of the 800m freestyle, clocking a quicker time than Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington and Lotte Friss, the World champion who was in her heat.
For the 2009 triple European junior champion, her new Irish record of 8.36.63 was simply stunning, breaking the previous mark by a huge eight seconds.
Murphy said: “It was an amazing swim, I’m really happy with my performance, but Lotte is well able to go faster in the final so we’ll just have to see what happens.
“I have a day’s rest now, so my plan is to get as much sleep and rest as possible between now and tomorrow.
“I had a fair idea how fast the others were going to take the race out and what they were trying to do but I just focused on my race which was really, really good — I started off strong and was able to hold on throughout the whole swim.”
Murphy will be up against Adlington, Friss and 200m and 400m freestyle World record holder Federica Pellegrini of Italy among others so a medal is highly unlikely but, having made two finals in three days, she has already had an exceptional championships.
While the teenager is riding high, Bree was left shocked by his 17th-placed performance which was surprisingly lacklustre and two seconds off the time he did in Monaco just two months ago.
“I’m disappointed, I didn’t feel as smooth as I’d hoped. Maybe I need to have more metres in my training like I used to have. It’s different in California so I’ll have to look at that,” said Bree.
Melanie Nocher clocked 1.03.46 for the 100m back.
Last night Great Britain’s Fran Halsall won 100m freestyle gold in 53.58.