Honorary degree for swimmer Ross

Ross Davenport after the Mens 200m Freestyle during the British Gas Swimming Championships at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday March 5, 2012. See PA story SWIMMING London. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Ross Davenport after the Mens 200m Freestyle during the British Gas Swimming Championships at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday March 5, 2012. See PA story SWIMMING London. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
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Ross Davenport, the Belper swimmer who competed at three Olympic Games, has been presented with an honorary degree by the University of Derby.

The 28–year–old, who retired from international competition following London 2012, was selected for the award in recognition of his athletic achievements.

During a ceremony on Thursday he became an Honorary Master of the University or HonMUniv alongside more than 2,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students completing their courses.

He said: “I was very honoured to receive the degree. It was a proud moment and such a massive honour.

“To receive something like this in your home city in recognition of the things you have achiveved is truly special and extremely rewarding.

“It all went really well –I managed to hold on to my nerves. They asked me come forward and collect it and it was a great feeling.

“It’s back to reality now for a few months. It’s been such an amazing year for me with the Olympics and getting married.”

Ross started swimming, aged three, at Belper Marlin and has been entering competitions since the age of six.

Since making his first senior international debut at the 2003 Barcelona World Championships he has competed in three Olympic Games – Athens, Beijing and London 2012 – five World Championships, two Commonwealth Games and five European Championships.

At his first Olympics, Athens in 2004, he was a member of the 4x200m Freestyle relay team who set a new British record.

He then won a relay silver at the 2006 European Championships and gold at the same event in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, where he also took individual 200 metre gold.

During his career he has broken over 50 English, British or European records. In October 2012 he cycled across Zambia to raise funds for Sport in Action.

Professor John Coyne, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “As always, I am delighted with the high standard of Honorary Award recipients that Derby has attracted this year.

“They are people not only pre-eminent in their chosen field but who have gone beyond that, through their influence or outside community interests, to make a positive impact on the wider world.”