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Loughborough University

Beijing Olympics 2008

News from Beijing

1 May 2008

Davies aims for Olympic open water qualification

Loughborough-based David Davies is hoping to add a spot in the first ever Olympic 10k swim to his personal programme for Beijing when he competes at the World Open Water Championships in Seville this weekend.

Davies, who has already secured his place on Team GB for the 1500m pool race, is one of four Brits eyeing a top 10 finish in Spain. He must finish in the top 10 to guarantee his open water spot in Beijing.

23-year-old Davies made his open water debut just two months ago at the South African Nationals in Cape Town where he gave a promising performance to win the event ahead of open water regulars.

"I really enjoyed competing in South Africa and I am really looking forward to the challenge of competing in a completely different environment," he said. "I love racing outdoors and I think the conditions in Seville will be great.

"The hardest part about switching from the pool to open water for me was adapting to the conditions; obviously the water is a lot colder and this was hard to get used to. I am also racing against athletes that have a lot more experience than me and while that means I have less pressure than them it is tough because they have more knowledge than me."

During the last week Davies and his British open water team mates have been in training together in Loughborough’s 50m pool to make their final preparations for the qualification event. British head coach Sean Kelly will lead the team to Seville, which he warns may provide one of the toughest open water races of recent history.

"It is currently about 29 Celsius in Seville which will mean we will have warm water," Kelly said. "This will be quite similar to what the swimmers will face in Beijing so will give us a great chance to acclimatise to the conditions before the Olympics.

"There should be no problems for the swimmers as they have swum the course before, apart from David Davies but he should find it similar to South Africa.

"We have a great depth of talent in our squad - we have a world silver medallist, an Olympic medallist and a European short-course Champion - I believe they should deal with this competition well.

"They know what they need to do and I don't think the pressure of the situation will phase them."

"What will be tough is the amount of competitors in the field. We will have about 55 swimmers competing for a total of 25 places for Beijing, so in these terms it will be physically harder than the Olympics will be but I know they all have the strength to deal with this.

"It is the highest quality field in the history of Open Water swimming and with the likes of Grant Hackett competing I believe it will be remembered as the toughest race in history."

Loughborough University - Beijing 2008

Beijing facts

There are 55 Loughborough athletes in action at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Did you know?

Former Olympic Champion Sebastian Coe is a Loughborough graduate.

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