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Olympic preparations - part three
by David Davies - GB swimming (U10853013) 23 June 2008
British swimming star David Davies won an Olympic bronze medal at the 2004 Games in Athens.
There is a real laid-back atmosphere around open water and the swimmers all get on well David Daviesthe post would gain selection to swim at the inaugural 10k swim in Beijing. I had no real pressure on me as it was my first competitive race in this sport and I really enjoyed the week. There is a real laid back atmosphere around open water and the swimmers all get on well and have respect for one another. This must be as they all know how hard one another trains in preparing for these endurance events.
On race day I had completed all the necessary preparations to ensure I was well fuelled and hydrated for the race. There were 64 competitors taking part, meaning the race would be swum in a large pack making it very physical. I opted to stay out of trouble and led from the front.
I got into a nice rhythm and felt comfortable although there was a massive pack behind me at all times and my feet were constantly being tapped.
The course consisted of four laps of 2.5k and the river was pretty calm and flat. I had good support from mum and dad who came out to watch and with 1000m remaining I was in a two-horse race with Russian Arkardy Dyatchyn.
Dyatchyn had the experience and used it to his advantage. He was dictating where I was swimming and swum me off course going round the final turning buoy.
After 1 hour and 53 minutes of swimming only 0.3 seconds separated usI pulled back level with him in the last 400m straight and we were neck and neck going into the home straight 25m. After 1 hour and 53 minutes of swimming only 0.3 seconds separated us (see picture above). Dyatchyn retained his world crown.
It was epic. I was white afterwards and felt drained I had given everything. Despite narrowly missing out I was delighted to be on the rostrum in my debut world open water champs.
It really was the hardest thing Iíve done and I needed a few days of steady swimming in training before I could crank it up again.
It was a brilliant experience, however, and I will now be taking part in the first ever open-water race at the Olympic Games. I will also be the only guy doubling up from pool swimming to the open water so I feel very proud. GB also had two girls qualify for the Games with Cassie Patten taking a silver medal, and they too will double up from the pool to the open water. All in all the GB team had a brilliant week and can be optimistic going into Beijing.
After the 10k I settled back into a good training routine based in Loughborough. My coach and I are happy with the progress being made and I am in good shape and doing some very good sets in training.
I havenít attended any meets and there have been some fast times swum around the world as the Olympics gets closer. No doubt the competition will be hotting up. I decided to just stay in training, however, and will have a last hit out at Liverpool two weeks before flying out to the Olympics. The whole Olympic swim team will be there at the ASA national champs.
As well as training, I also have to look after my sponsors and press commitments. Itís important to look after the people who support you and to get any swimming coverage is great.
I decided to do all my pre-Olympic press and sponsorship commitments in one day
I am quite a shy person but do enjoy talking to the media David Daviesdown in Cardiff in June. There was a lot of coverage, which was great, and I managed to get my sponsors involved. I will now stay out of the media spotlight and get on with preparations for Beijing. I am quite a shy person but do enjoy talking to the media.
As I mentioned earlier, the swimming world is hotting up. In my event, for example, there have been 12 guys this year who have swum inside 15 minutes - a big milestone. This means the depth is now very strong and the heats are going to be tough in Beijing. Grant Hackett is in good form also and despite missing out in the open water he will be a huge threat in Beijing.
The photograph of him looking out of shape was ridiculous - he had just finished the 10km and after hard exertion your stomach bloats. Also, his suit was tight around the waste and after carbo-loading and drinking lots of water to hydrate he was bound to be a bit bloated. I thought he looked in great shape and the stick he got from some Aussie press was very unfair.
A nice distraction away from swimming in May was the FA Cup final. I still find it hard to believe that my team Cardiff City actually made it all the way to the final. I was so happy I got tickets and it was a day Iíll never forget.
Iím pleased with the way training has gone and how I have improved on certain areas of my race plan David DaviesI was so excited on the train down to London and when arriving was shocked at how many Cardiff fans there were everywhere. The atmosphere was incredible, Wembley looked awesome and the occasion was unforgettable. I know we didnít get the result we wanted but we performed so well and gave everything, we just couldnít break down Portsmouth. The fans were brilliant and stayed right until the end to applaud Portsmouth and congratulate our players on their efforts.
Itís not long to go now, Iím ready and excited about being at my second Olympics. However, itís important to stay relaxed and not get too wound up, it can only go wrong from here on in. The main work is now done, a few more weeks of hard work then it will be tapered down to the Games.
Over the next week or so I will take some more time out from my training to answer a few of your questions from my previous blog as well as any more you may have.
All the best,
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