The second day of competition at the Dutch Open Championships in the Pieter Van Den Hoogenband Complex, Eindhoven, has seen Ireland’s Grainne Murphy achieve the FINA A standard for the 2012 London Olympic Games, following a fantastic performance in the 800m freestyle.
Her time of 8:31.14 was over two seconds inside the A standard (8:33.84) and was also good enough to see her win the bronze medal at the event, which was won by Mireia Belmonte Garcia from Spain in a time of 8:22.78. Second place went to Danish swimmer Lotte Friis (8:24.31).
Speaking from the event, Murphy’s coach Ronald Claes praised his athlete, saying: “This is a great early season swim for Grainne. It is her first competitive outing since the disappointment of the World Championships last summer and it is an added bonus to have achieved the A standard at this stage”.
There were a number of other notable performances by Irish swimmers today. Aisling Cooney qualified for the final of the 50m backstroke following a heat swim of 30.06. In the final, swimming in lane eight, Cooney produced a solid performance to finish in seventh place (29.84).
Shani Stallard also qualified for a final today, in the 200m breaststroke, after a heat swim of 2:32.44. In the final, Stallard, who trains at the High Performance Centre at UL, finished in eighth place with a time of 2:31.20 - just outside the Irish Senior Record.
The women’s 200m freestyle included seven Irish athletes, all aiming not just for the A standard but also a possible place on the Olympic relay team. Best of the Irish was Melanie Nocher, who qualified for the B final, where she finished in a time of 2:00.49. The A standard is 1:58.33 for this event.
Portmarnock & HPC-NAC swimmer Karl Burdis had a strong performance in the 50m backstroke heats, finishing with a place in the B final in a time of 26.10. In the B final he finished 2nd in a time of 26.06. He competes in the 100m backstroke tomorrow, the final day of competition, where the A standard he will be chasing stands at 54.40.
At the US Nationals in Atlanta Fiona Doyle, swimming for Calgary University, competed in the 200m breaststroke heats. Her time of 2:38.33 was not enough to make the final.
Double Olympian Andrew Bree was also in action today. Swimming in the 200m breaststroke, his premier event, Bree clocked a time of 2:16.24 in the heats and progressed to the B final, taking place tonight. Bree will be chasing the A standard qualification time of 2:11.74 for next year’s Olympics.