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Swimming: Murphy’s delight despite European championships medal heartbreak

Grainee Murphy came up with one the finest performances ever seen by an Irish swimmer yesterday, just just missing out on a medal by four hundredths of a second in the 800m freestyle.

So close: Grainne Murphy just missed out on bronze in Budapest

At the European long course championships in Budapest yesterday, the 17-year-old established herself as a world class swimmer and a genuine medal hopeful for London 2012.

Murphy was lying in the bronze medal position up until the final few metres when Italian Frederica Pelegrini snatched third in 8:24.99 with the Wexford girl clocking 8:25.04.

Gold went to World champion Lotte Friis in 8:23.27, with French woman Ophelie-Cyrielle Etienne taking silver with 8:24.00, while Britain's Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington was back in seventh, 8:27.48.

Murphy, who competes in the 1500m freestyle heats today, said: “It was an amazing swim, to finish fourth in my first Europeans is just incredible. It hasn't sunk in yet.

“I was just going in there to go as well as I could and see where it got me. I could see Pellegrini coming up but I kept my head down and kept going and she just snuck in.”

Irish swimming boss Peter Banks described it as “one of the greatest performances by a young Irish athlete” before adding that she is now an inspiration to the rest of Swim Ireland’s top juniors.

“It's the best performance by an Irish swimmer in years because you had the Olympic champion and World champion in the race as well as other world record holders. It should be a real inspiration to all,” said Banks.

Belfast Telegraph

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