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18 April 2008 PR 08/49

Swim champ Simmonds switches Olympic preparation to Loughborough

British Champion Elizabeth Simmonds is set to train at Loughborough University as she sets her sights on the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The backstroke specialist will begin full-time training at Loughborough’s 50m facility on Monday (21 April) and joins Ben Titley’s group of athletes, which includes World Championship medallists Liam Tancock and Caitlin McClatchey.

Simmonds will now be able to train with a team of support staff and sport scientists that are based at Loughborough as she looks to focus everything on achieving the best possible result in August.

“It was a difficult decision to leave Lincoln but after having discussions with Marc [Spackman] we both decided that it would be a natural progression for me,” said Simmonds. “Loughborough University will provide me with the perfect environment to help my development towards the Olympic Games.

“Moving to Loughborough is the next step in my development. I will get to work with other athletes that are ranked higher than me in the world and I will be able to aspire to meet their level.

“Loughborough University will provide a professional environment with specialist weight areas and dedicated staff that will help me take the step up that I’m ready for.”

Simmonds claimed a silver medal in the 200m Backstroke at the World Swimming Championships (25m) in Manchester and became the second fastest woman in history to swim the distance.

The 17-year-old also qualified for her first Olympic squad after claiming gold and silver in the 200m and 100m Backstroke at this year’s British Championships (50m) and she looks back on her time at Lincoln Vulcans fondly.

“Lincoln is a great club and I enjoyed my time there but now I am ready to re-focus my training and work in an environment where I can have constant access to a long-course pool,” she said.

“I have thanked Marc for everything he has done for me. We are both very proud of everything we have achieved together and my recent achievements go a long way to show how well we worked together.”

Simmonds leaves Lincoln Vulcans with the full support of her former coach Marc Spackman who feels the benefits of the swimmer’s new programme will have a major impact on her performance at the biggest sporting event in the world this summer.

“I wish Lizzie luck in her new environment,” Spackman said. “I hope she can achieve everything she aims to. I know she is an extremely talented swimmer and I know she has the potential to be an Olympic champion one day.

“The facilities in Loughborough are great and she will be training alongside some of the best athletes in the country which I believe will push her forward.”

-ENDS-

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend, Sports PR Officer, Loughborough University,
T: 01509 228686, E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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