future is in

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The future of British swimming is in safe hands according to Belper’s Ross Davenport, despite a lower than expected return of medals in the Aquatics Centre.

Two bronze medals, both won by Rebecca Adlington, and a silver, by breaststroker Michael Jamieson, was all Team GB had to show for their efforts in the pool with Davenport himself finishing sixth in the 4x200m freestyle relay, won by a Michael Phelps-led USA.

But Ross Davenport’s teammates for that relay – Robbie Renwick, Ieuan Lloyd and Rob Bale – are 24 or under and he maintains medals alone should not be used to judge British performances.

“We wanted to come in here and fight for medals,” he said. “That’s what we train every day for and we gave it our best shot.

“There’s no shame in coming sixth in an Olympic final with the greatest Olympian of all time. I would have loved to have been in the mix but we gave it our all.

“Sixth is where we are in the world now, and this is a decent platform.

“Apart from myself it’s a young team – the average age is early 20s, so hopefully in four years time in Rio we can be in the mix. (Continued on p32)

“As sports people we aim for the top. We want to be in the medals and we want to get the plaudits for that. We sometimes do get caught up on medals, but there’s no doubt we give it our very very best every single time. We would love to have won every race, but it’s the nature of the sport.

“We’re racing the best in the world. These are very talented people and sometimes you’ve just got to hold your hands up and say they were the best on the day.”

At 28, Davenport is the second oldest member of the Team GB squad and was appearing in his third and potentially last Olympics.

One swimmer who was definitely making his curtain call at London 2012 was Phelps, who won his record 19th Olympic medal in Davenport’s race.

And although it was not the result Davenport wanted, he admits it was an honour to be a small part of history.

“I was here four years ago when he won eight gold medals, and I raced against him three times then,” added Davenport. “He’s made history once again. What he’s done for this sport is incredible.

“It’s recognised throughout the world because of him. He’s put it on a pedestal, and it’s an honour to race against him.”

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