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Annalise makes massive splash

RARELY do Irish athletes come close to Olympic perfection but 22-year-old sailor Annalise Murphy came mighty close to it just off the Dorset coast.

The Rathfarnham woman stands proudly at the summit of the standings in the Laser Radial class after two first-place finishes yesterday.

In windy, testing conditions, Murphy found her sea legs with ease and blitzed a world class field not once, but twice.

A 15-second victory in race one was followed up by a 45-second triumph in race two to give the Dubliner an impressive lead but with a lot of sailing still remaining.

Murphy admitted that she "couldn't really ask for much more" after marking her Olympic debut with victory in both races.

"It couldn't really get much better, but there is still a long regatta to go," she said.

"I am just going to keep doing it one race at a time and see how things work out.

"I got a good start to the first race and was leading at the windward mark and led the rest of the way around.

"It was the perfect race and in the second Evi (Van Acker of Belgium) was a good bit ahead of me.

"I managed to catch up with her, got a few good little shifts on the second upwind and once I got ahead I pulled away quite a lot.

"I couldn't really ask for much more."

James O'Callaghan, ISA performance director, said: "Annalise got off to a good solid start, but she still has five more days of racing ahead of her.

"This is her first Olympics and her competitors are well experienced with the Games.

"She needs to continue to focus as it's still very early days."

Elsewhere in Weymouth yesterday, Ireland's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern finished fourth in the day's first 49er race, and eighth in the second race. Those results leave them in sixth place overall.

The first race was won by the French crew of Emmanuel Dyen and Stephane Christidis in a time of 29 minutes five seconds. Seaton and McGovern came home 30 seconds later.

The second race was won by the Australian crew of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen. They clocked a time of 28:08, Seaton and McGovern came home 1:01 later.

James Espey finished in 38th place in the first Laser Class race of the day, 2:50 behind the winner, Juan Ignacio Maegli Aguero of Guatemala.

In the second race of the day, he came home 44th, 4:06 behind Australian Tom Slingsby. Espey lies 42nd overall.