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Beijing Olympics 2008

News from Beijing

6 May 2008

World silver and Olympic open water spot for Loughborough-based Davies

Loughborough-based David Davies claimed silver at the FINA Open Water Swimming World Championships in Spain at the weekend to guarantee his nomination to Team GB for the inaugural Olympic 10km event.

Distance specialist Davies, who won 1500m bronze at the last Olympics in Athens and has already qualified for Beijing in the pool, has added the open water event less than three months after making his 10km debut.

The Olympic bronze medallist went into the event with only one open water race under his belt, but showed no signs of nerves as he gained an excellent start and dominated the pack to take an early lead. Davies controlled the tempo of the race and as the swimmers approached the 2.5km mark he was closely followed by Olympic champion Grant Hackett.

At the halfway mark the pack began to stretch out and the top three; Davies, Valerio Cleri (Italy) and Hackett, began to pull away.

Hackett struggled as the race entered 7.5km and found the experience of Russian world champion Vladimir Dyatchin and Thomas Lurz (Germany) too much as he began to fall back through the field.

Davies continued his dominance of the race until the final turning buoy where Dyatchin managed to just push past him to take the lead as they entered the final 500m. As they hit the final 200m Davies closed the gap on Dyatchin and they were swimming length for length but the Russian just clinched the gold in a time of 1:53.21.0.

Davies took his second world silver medal of 2008 and his nomination to the first British open water Olympic team with a time of 1:53.21.3.

"I am very very pleased with that result," he said. "That race took a lot out of me, I feel like I have done twelve rounds with Mike Tyson.

"That was my first competitive 10km swim. In South Africa there was only six athletes competing, so the conditions here were perfect for me to gain experience in the event. I am a rhythmic swimmer and so we planned for me to get out into the lead early on and get myself some clear space so I was well out of the pack.

"When I got into the lead I had no idea what was going on behind me, I just kept my pace and didn't stop to feed throughout the race. I did make some mistakes with my lines and my tactics, but these are things that will come with more experience of open water swimming.

"Dyatchin got me at the last turn and he used his experience to make me swerve towards the turning buoy. But I am pleased to be able to get that result while I am in the middle of heavy training.

"I was not rested going into that race and I used it as part of my training programme so for me this is an encouraging position to be.

"I have had a busy start to 2008 and I am looking forward to getting back to Loughborough and getting some solid training under my belt. It is great to know I now have options for Beijing and I am now going to have discussions with my coach before we decide my next step."

The bronze medal was taken by Thomas Lurz who touched home in a time of 1:53.27.2.

British coach Kevin Renshaw has been working with Davies in Loughborough for the past eight months, and believes he is capable of making further improvements ahead of Beijing.

"We knew that David was obviously one of the most inexperienced open water swimmers in the competition so we had a good strategy in place to help him avoid the fight in the pack," he said. "It was a good performance from him today and he now needs to improve every time he takes part in a 10km race.

"He needs to learn how to deal with the hard knocks of being in the pack, which is hard for a pool swimmer to learn as they are so used to competing with their own space. Nevertheless, he is a tough athlete and he puts his heart and soul into every race he takes part in so I know that he will be able to learn from this and improve for next time."

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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