At just 19, Irish swimmer Grainne Murphy is one of Ireland's youngest competitors at this summer’s Olympic Games.
The county Wexford native took the swimming world by storm in 2009 when she won three gold medals and one bronze at the European Junior Swimming Championships before progressing to a silver medal at senior level at the 2010 European Aquatics Championships.
On December 3rd of 2011, she secured her place at this year’s Olympic Games, and preparations for the event have continued since.
Her first appearance at the games is set to become an historic event, especially for the residents of Ballinaboola, Co Wexford, who are said to have memorized the names and times of all the competitors who will compete against Grainne in her 800m freestyle heats this July.
Of course, the Olympic dream has been a long time in the making for Ireland’s young hopeful. Grainne moved from her native Wexford to Limerick at age thirteen in order to be close to the Olympic standard training facilities provided at the University of Limerick Arena.
This intense level of sacrifice and dedication has been evident in Murphy’s training from an early age and enabled her to be very successful in the sport, sweeping The Irish Times/Irish Sports Council’s Sportswoman of the Year award in 2010 and making her one to be reckoned with in the world of elite level swimming.
Talk of her being a serious medal contender this summer has been rising despite this being her first time at the Olympics. Whether records are broken or not, there is no doubt that this young athlete is well on her way to establishing herself as one of Ireland’s finest female athletes, and if it doesn’t happen this time round, a medal haul is undoubtedly a sure thing for the future.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore