Murphy out of 800m freestyle


Olympic Swimming:Grainne Murphy has taken the difficult decision to withdraw from the 800 metres freestyle on Thursday morning, bringing her Olympics to an end. The Wexford teenager has been suffering from glandular fever but chose to swim in the 400m freestyle on Sunday morning.

Clearly still some way off her best, Murphy finished last in her heat and her time of 4.19.07 was a full ten seconds outside her qualifying time. She immediately withdrew from yesterday’s 200m freestyle but had hoped to compete in her favoured event on Thursday.

However, Murphy has now pulled out of that event, bringing her Olympics to an unhappy conclusion.

“After swimming the 400m, and sitting down and speaking to everybody, I think this is the best decision for me right now,” Murphy told RTE this afternoon.

“I prepared everything I could coming up to the Games. I did my recovery, I worked very well with Ronald (Claes) and the support teams. We did everything we possibly could to get here, and I came here to compete to the best of my ability. Right now my ability isn’t up to where I want it to be. After swimming the 400m on Sunday I realised that right now I need to recover and get better.”

Britain’s Ellen Gandy, meanwhile, crashed out in the heats of the 200 metres butterfly this morning after coming to the Olympics as one of the medal favourites. The 20-year-old made her breakthrough on the global stage last year when she won silver at the World Championships in Shanghai.

That had followed visits to the rostrum at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2010. The Melbourne-based swimmer had endured a difficult World Championships in Rome in 2009 which she entered atop the world rankings but finished 15th over 200m and 16th in the shorter race.

Gandy was eighth in the 100m earlier this week but with the 200m her favoured event, she was expected to mount a real challenge.

Kathleen Hersey outpaced Chinese world champion Jiao Liuyang to top the qualifiers for the women's 200 metres butterfly at the London Olympics. The 22-year-old Hersey ploughed her way through four laps of the Aquatics Centre in a time of two minutes, 06.41 seconds to advance to the semi-finals as the top seed.

Jiao easily won her heat in 2:07.15 to finish second overall while Britain's Jemma Lowe was third fastest.China's Liu Zige, the reigning world record holder, was 11th overall but Gandy, a silver medallist at last year's world championships, missed out on the semi-finals after finishing 17th.

Only the top 16 advanced to Tuesday's semi-finals, from which the eight fastest will move through to Wednesday's final.

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