ROSS Davenport was a fraction away from establishing himself among the globe’s elite at the World Championship – but admits he’ll need familiar faces around him to grab a London Olympic medal.
Davenport missed out on qualifying for the 200m freestyle final, one of the toughest disciplines in the sport, by just two spots, ending tenth with the top eight progressing to the medal showdown.
However the 27-year-old bounced back from that relative disappointment to help the British 4x200m freestyle relay team to a valiant sixth on day six at Shanghai’s Oriental Sports Centre.
And while pleased with his 200m individual display Davenport admits it is the potential of his relay colleagues that leaves his pulse racing ahead of next year’s Olympics.
“I was reasonably pleased with the individual,” said Davenport. “It is relatively difficult for us to make the semi-finals these days. It is a really tough event and it has moved on dramatically over the last three years.
“We’re not in the position where we can relax and back off in the heats and rest for the semi-finals, so that makes it difficult but I was pleased with the way I swam.
“The relay was good too and I think every single one of us raised our game in the final of that. We were very tight in making it into the final and it was a shame not to be in there challenging for a medal.
“We took our chance and we didn’t win and to be fair we weren’t close to winning but the improvement we showed was very encouraging.
“It is another year to go, we have some great swimmers who are coming through who can push some of the experienced swimmers and I believe this is just the starting point for this 4x200m relay squad.
“It again has been reborn and we can move on and get stronger.”
Having spent last the past two weeks in the Far East Davenport revealed he has still kept his finger on the pulse of the 2012 countdown, especially July 27’s one-year-to-go celebrations.
And with the Games edging ever closer, Davenport insists his Shanghai experience has left him more determined than ever to be in the capital.
“Despite being away I saw all the London 2012 hype on the TV,” he added. “We’ve seen all the hype of one year to go and it is incredible.
“We are so fortunate as athletes to have this opportunity to race in this Olympic Games. I hope it is one I’m going to take with both hands and not let slip through my grasp.”
British Gas is supporting the British Gas GBR Swimming Team to win more gold medals, as part of its partnership with the sport at all levels. For more information visit www.britishgas.co.uk/swimming