/ Swimming

Irish swimmers continue to struggle

Updated: Thursday, 01 Dec 2011 20:02

Barry Murphy was 37th in the 50 metres Freestyle
Barry Murphy was 37th in the 50 metres Freestyle

By John Kenny

Barry Murphy and Fiona Doyle turned in poor performances in the 50 metres Freestyle events on the opening day of the US Winter National Swimming Championship in Atlanta.

Murphy, swimming for his US College Wolverine, has already qualified for the London 2012 games and he recorded a time well outside his own Irish record when he was placed 37th overall in a modest 23.42 seconds.

Doyle, competing for the University of Calgary, swam 27.23 in the women’s equivalent and was a second behind heat winner Olivia Smoliga.

Ryan Harrison was due to compete in the heats of the men’s 400 freestyle but he withdrew.

Andrew Bree, who has yet to post an Olympic qualifying time, will be in action on Friday in the heats of the men’s 100 metres Breaststroke, along with Barry Murphy.

Meanwhile, the opening day of the Dutch Nationals at the Pieter Van Den Hoogenband Arena in Eindhoven will see nine of Ireland’s 10-strong squad in action - with Olympic qualification on their minds.

Peter Banks, Ireland’s high performance swim coach, had hoped that the likes Grainne Murphy and Melanie Nocher would have also made the A qualifying standard by this event.

But a poor showing at the recent World Swimming Championships in Shanghai - in which no Irish swimmer dipped under any qualification times – means that Banks has sent 10 competitors to the Netherlands this weekend.

The squad includes European 1500 metres silver medallist Grainne Murphy, together with Nuala Murphy, Shani Stallard, Sycerika McMahon, Niamh O'Sullivan, Beth Carson, Karl Burdis, Claire Dawson, plus Beijing Olympians Melanie Nocher and Aisling Cooney.

Grainne Murphy is one of five Irish competitors taking part in the heats of the women’s 400 Freestyle along with Nuala Murphy, Dawson, O’Sullivan and McMahon.

Others in action in Friday morning’s heats are Carson and Stallard, while Nocher and Burdis will compete in the 200 Backstroke.

Grainne Murphy will also compete in the heats of the 200 Individual Medley along with Stallard and McMahon. Stallard also compete in the 100 Breaststroke as will McMahon.

Those who haven't made Olympic qualification will have three further meets in which to make the required times.
The Irish Olympic trials at the NAC in Dublin start on 29 February next year and backs onto British trials a week later.

The final qualifier, the European Long Course at Antwerp in Belgium, is at the end of May.

Ireland's other Team 2012 swimmer is open water swimmer Chris Bryan. He recently finished a creditable ninth at the recent 10km marathon test event, which was held at the London Olympic open water venue.