Rio Olympics silver medallist Annalise Murphy is set for a new challenge, having swapped the individual Laser Radial class, to team up with Katie Tingle in a 49erFX with the duo currently on the qualification path for Tokyo 2020.
Murphy says it’s been a whirlwind since the highs of Rio almost three years ago.
“It’s been a mad three years, they have gone by so quickly as well,” she told Dublin Gazette, in a local media exclusive interview.
“The six months after Rio was a bit of a whirlwind. It was just something you’d never imagined you’d end up doing.
“In 2017 I got the opportunity to do the Volvo Ocean Race, which took up the next year of my life, sailing around the world and it was really tough. It was an amazing experience, and I learned a lot about myself and people.
“It changed me in a good way, and I’m a lot less concerned about what people think. I do more of what I want to do now, which is one of the hardest things, because you are always pushed to do certain things and go certain ways.
“Before I was being told: ‘You should do this or that’, and I was just trying to please other people. Now, I’m like: ‘Actually, it’s my life, I’m just going to do what I want to do and what I think is going to make me happy’.
“That’s why I have changed to the 49’er FX two-person boat, which is absolutely great.
“It’s extremely challenging. It’s brilliant being part of a team. But that also is really hard because I’ve been an individual my entire life.
“It’s a different dynamic, but when you get things right in a two-person boat it’s really satisfying.”
Olympic qualification involves Annalise and Katie going to Japan in August for both Olympic and World Cup events.
It also includes time for two weeks of training at the Olympic venue ahead of the World Championships in Auckland in December.
“We’ve only got six months to Olympic qualification so it’s a big push to be in as good shape as possible,” Murphy said.
“If everything goes really well we should hopefully qualify in New Zealand, and then we have six months to get even better and hopefully be in a position to win a medal in Tokyo.”
Murphy was getting inspiration from the younger generation at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire at the Davy Junior Regatta, a competition she fondly remembers, having taken part in Junior Regattas herself in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, growing up.
“I remember the first Junior Regatta I did. I was just sailing inside the Harbour and I won it,” she said.
“I’d been on boats with mum and dad when I was younger but that was my first time I was in an optimist, and going around with the other guys. That was my first proper event.
“What I hope now that a lot of these kids will see is that there is the potential to go to the Olympics and do very well at the Olympics.
“That’s what I’m hoping I can show, that it is possible and that it’s not just a mad idea. We’ve got such great sailing venues and the right circumstances.
“I think I was probably lucky, I was always in the right place at the right time, but that’s bound to happen to lots of other people over the years.”