One of Ireland’s most exciting swimming talents, Grainne Murphy, last night announced her retirement from the sport at the age of 22.
Murphy burst onto the international scene when winning a silver medal at the 2010 European Long Course Championships in Budapest.
The Wexford native finished in 16:02.29 - eight seconds better than the previous Irish record. And she went onto claim two bronze medals from the European Short Course Swimming Championships later that year.
However, her hopes of success at the London Olympics two years later were cruelly ended when she was diagnosed with glandular fever and was forced to withdraw after the heats of the 400m freestyle.
After almost two years returning to full fitness Murphy had been working towards securing qualification for the Rio Games later this year. However a severe lung infection last November led her to re-evaluate her plans for the future.
In a heartfelt statement she said: “After thinking long and hard I have finally come to the decision to hang up my hat and goggles at International level.
“I have had many amazing memories and experiences during my years as a high performance swimmer and I will treasure them for the rest of my life. The highlights for me included winning three gold and a bronze medal at the European Junior Championships in 2009. Following this I competed in my first senior competition at the World Championships in Rome where I just missed out on a semi-final. 2010 marked my first year on the senior stage and I won a silver medal in the 1500m freestyle and was just pipped for a bronze medal in the 800m freestyle at Senior European Championships in Budapest.
“Unfortunately tough times followed for me as most swimmers and sports people would understand. I had to undergo shoulder surgery which took me out of the pool for quite some time. I managed to recover from that well and qualified for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“Quite publicly, things did not go well for me in in 2012 when I suffered from glandular fever which forced me to withdraw after the heats of the 400 freestyle at the Games. It was a slow road to recovery and in 2014 things finally improved.
“I then made the decision to move to France to train. Living in another country was an amazing life experience. I made some lifelong friends and trained with top class swimmers. I reached a crossroads in November of 2015. I suffered a severe lung infection that took a long time to recover from. I realised that while I might make an Olympic Qualification time for Rio, I did not feel like I would be competitive at the Games.
“I have always maintained that if I go to a major championship I want to be at the top of my game and in the mix. Currently I am finishing my studies in exercise and health fitness in The University of Limerick. I am excited for what the future may hold for me.”
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