Cork speedster Healy taking ‘whirlwind’ year in her stride

Life as a senior athlete has been an "incredible whirlwind" for Bandon’s Phil Healy, one outstanding performance after another; the ladder swiftly climbed.

The lowly tag which Healy bore in setting out on her first year as a senior had been torn to shreds by the end of the indoor season and so when the PA called the athletes to attention for the women’s 100m at the Cork City Sports on Tuesday night, all eyes were firmly fixed on Healy.

The 19-year old trailed in sixth at last year’s meet. On Tuesday, she was pipped for top spot on the podium by one hundredth of a second. Had it not been for an assisted wind reading, her time of 11.36 was an Irish senior record.

“It has been an unbelievable transition to senior ranks,” said the Cork sprinter. “I am still trying to make sense of it all.

“I remember last year and I had absolutely no expectations heading to Rieti for the European junior championships and wound up coming fourth. That was absolutely huge for me and to get a PB out there only added to it. Then this year has been an absolute whirlwind. I changed coach to Shane McCormack at the end of last year and had a big step up going from secondary school to college. There was a lot of change but everything has worked out so well.

“This season really so far couldn’t have gone better. I smashed the national U23 indoor record when posting 7.36. To miss the World senior indoor standard by four one hundredths, I wasn’t chasing it but to come so close was unbelievable. To be 19 and to be that close to a world senior indoor standard was so encouraging.”

Healy has carried her indoor form into the summer, lowering her outdoor best from 11.61 to 11.53 and, in the process, securing her place at next month’s European championships.

“To think I am going to the European seniors next month is incredible. It was never on my radar for 2014. I had this chat with my coach last week as to what my goals were for the year. My sole aim was to make the transition from junior to senior and see how it would work. I wanted to see how it would pan out with starting college at UCC where I am studying nursing and living away from home and everything being so new. It has just been absolutely unbelievable. To secure a spot at the European senior championships is unbelievable when you think that Rieti last year was my first major championships.”

As for expectations travelling to Zurich?

“I would love to lower my PB before I go out there. Then when I do get out there the hope is to get past the heats, to perform to the best of my ability. If it comes that I break 11.53, super. I just want to soak up the atmosphere and learn as much as I can.”

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