BY Jonny Stapleton
‘Amazing’ Grace Hodgins put herself on the Olympic pathway with some sensational displays at the LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia this week.
The talented teen cemented her status as a potential swimming star of the future thanks to some rapid performances in Russia, diving onto the National Programme 2021-22 Performance Pathway Cohort in the process.
Hodgins has been selected alongside a number of pool talents for the Programme and will work with Swim Ireland toward Olympic success with Paris and LA now in her sights.
The 16-year-old showed just why those in the know are getting excited about her potential by taking to International competition like a more experienced swimmer does to water.
The Trojan SC swimmer continued to send her times tumbling and smashed two personal best in her first-ever International tournament.
Making a perfect start to her international career, Hodgins set a big personal best in the 800m Freestyle heats.
The Trojan trojan took three seconds off her previous 8:59.00 short course (25m pool) PB, which she set in December 2019, by touching the wall at 8:55.71.
That performance, her first swimming for Ireland saw Hodgins get within 20 seconds of Grainne Murphy’s Irish Junior record, which the Olympian set in 2009. It also earned her 19th overall in that competition.
The emerging talent was back at her personal best smashing best when she returned to the pool for the 1500m Freestyle heats bettering her previous PB by 35 seconds thanks to a time of 16:45.77.
Speaking on Hodgins performances Trojan Club President Louise Campbell said: “Trojan Swimming Club are extremely proud to have one of our Athletes represent Ireland at the LEN European Championships. Grace has been a swimmer with Trojan for many years and has progressed through the Club – to represent Ireland is a huge honour and to achieve personal bests in both races is a great accomplishment.”
Hodgins wasn’t the Dublin clubs only representative at the LEN European Championships in Russia. The club’s Head Coach Jonathan Preston also traveled to Kazan as part of Team Ireland.
Preston assisted Head Coach John Szaranek in a tournament where Eoin Corby, Molly Mayne also competed.
Preston’s presence was also a source of great pride to the club.
“We are also very proud of our Head Coach Jonathan Preston, who was also chosen to be part of the Irish coaching panel for this championship and is testament to the strength and depth of his coaching expertise,” added Campbell.
Trojan SC’s Grace Hodgins in action in Kazan, Russia