Davenport has plenty to offer

ROSS Davenport concedes his career is slowly coming to a close – but won’t say when it will end just yet admitting life as anything but a professional swimmer will be unmatchable.

The 27-year-old, left, qualified for his fourth World Championships in March, upsetting recently crowned Commonwealth 200m freestyle champion Robbie Renwick on the way to a fourth British title. Davenport’s trip to Shanghai will be his second to the Far East in three years, he was part of the British team for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and 12th major international appearance since his senior debut back in 2003.

He took a trip down memory lane at a recent British Swimming warm-weather training camp in Cyprus, the exact same place where he prepared for his Olympic debut in Athens seven years ago.

Davenport will be hoping to make it a lucky 13 at next year’s Olympics and while hinting that the London Games might be his swansong he insists life outside the pool simply won’t be the same.

“I think more than likely it will be my last World Championships, if not my last hopefully my second last, there aren’t many more years left I think,” said Davenport.

“I have kind of got it in the back of my mind that maybe next year will be my last year but if things are going well and I am still swimming well and enjoying it then there is no reason to stop.

“I was out in Cyprus which is a fantastic opportunity and you aren’t going to get that opportunity anywhere else – in any other profession you don’t get that.

“You don’t get a group of guys wanting the same goal and wanting to be the best in the world in any other organisation so I would like to prolong that as much as I can.

“Most importantly though I have got to get through this year and I have got to get through next year first before I can even think about what I am going to do afterwards.”

Of the middle-distance freestyle events, the 200m and 400m, Davenport is the only British male to be assured of an individual swim at the World Championships with further places decided next month.

Davenport will still swim at the British Gas ASA National Championships, which act as the second world trials, and is adopting a pragmatic approach as to how he will fare in Shanghai.

“You think about competitions weeks in advance and it is a nice situation to be in, having qualified, and that means the pressure is off me,” he added.

“Fingers crossed it will pay off in the summer with a good performance. I just want to go to Shanghai and perform the best I can do, that is all you can ask from any athlete.

“I want to be able to stand up on the block and perform the best I can do and if that means medaling, or winning, or getting to finals or whatever that is a bi-product.

“Knowing you have given it your all for me is all I ask of myself and when I go into a race I give it everything I have got and want to come away with no regrets.”

The nation’s leading energy supplier British Gas is the principal partner of British Swimming, and is supporting the sport at all levels, from grass roots to our elite athletes. Visit www.britishgas.co.uk/swimming