Two years ago, Grainne Murphy hit the headlines with three gold medals in the European Junior Championships. Hers has been a great success story ever since as witnessed by her being chosen as Irish Sports Council-Irish Times Sportswoman of 2010.
Now in 2011 It is Sycerika McMahon,the 15 years old from Portaferry, Co Down who made the headlines with her two golds and a silver last week in the 38th European Junior Championships in Belgrade. The future for Irish swimming is indeed bright with such excellent prospects in the team.
London 2012 may come just too soon for Sycerika but she will have ample opportunities to excel in the European Championship arenas and in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the years before the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro 2016. Before then he ‘battles’ in the pool involving Murphy and McMahon should prove one of the highlights of Irish sport in the coming years.
What say McMahon’s coaches? After her successes in Belgrade, Coach Bobby Madine commented on a fantastic week for the Leander star. “It is a great achievement for Sycerika to finish these championships with another medal. She is a tough competitor and has a passion and drive for success that has seen her perform so well this week.”
Northern Ireland’s Commonwealth Games swimming supremo Nelson Lindsay had this to say in “The Belfast Telegraph” : ““The European junior championships are the gold standard for swimming and it is a reliable indicator that those who medal there go on to have a very successful senior career.
“I believe Sycerika has the potential to go on and be the best Irish swimmer ever. You would have to say that Grainne Murphy is going to do that over the next couple of years and of course, she won three golds at the European juniors two years ago.
“But when you consider just how good Sycerika is across a wide range of strokes, it tells you how good she is and how good she can become.
“The next couple of years will tell a lot about how far she can go, but although it is a big ask, I believe she can get to London 2012 and she will certainly be a medal contender at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.”
Let us not forget the great work of the coaches such as Bobby Madine, Ronald Claes and Peter Banks, the High Performance Unit Director at Swim Ireland.
Sportsnewsireland.com will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.