BELPER’S Ross Davenport admits he intends to sacrifice personal gains for the greater good, revealing he plans to put all his eggs in the relay basket at the London 2012 Olympics.
The 27-year-old competed in the 200m freestyle at Beijing 2008, finishing tenth, but having ended fourth at the British Gas Championships last month, he has only secured a London 2012 place as part of the 4x200m relay squad.
While Robbie Renwick, who won the trials at the Aquatic Centre in March, will compete in the 200m at the Olympics, there remains one spot still open for anyone who touches home first at the ASA Championships in Sheffield in June inside the qualifying time.
But rather than gearing up for a tilt at the chance to fly the flag solo in the capital, Davenport, who was part of the 4x200m freestyle quartet that finished fourth at Athens 2004, believes he owes it to his relay teammates to put their hopes first.
“In Sheffield, there is a spot still open for the 200m freestyle. I’ve already qualified for the relay, and it’s a discussion that I have to have with my coach [Ben Titley],” said Davenport.
“And I have to decide whether I want to peak again for the ASA Championships in June or whether I sacrifice that small gain for the good of the team and make sure I’m in the best shape for the relay.
“I would love to do the individual and swim in front of 17,500 people as many times as possible but I think I have to put all my eggs into one basket and make that relay team as good as it possibly can be.”
This might be Davenport’s third appearance at an Olympics but the Belper swimmer admits he is fortunate to have his place on the British team, conceding he failed to produce the goods at the British Gas Championships.
But with the chance to compete in front of a partisan home crowd upon his return to the Olympic Aquatics Centre this summer, Davenport is leaving no stone unturned in his London 2012 preparations.
“I was slightly disappointed about my performances at the British Gas Championships,” he added. “I would have liked to have swum better but the main aim was to get onto the Olympic team and that box was ticked.
“Now I can go back and assess things and move on and get things ready for the Games. I have to put the work in and done the hard yards because at the end of the day we’ve got the Olympic Games coming up and that’s the pinnacle of any athlete’s career.
“It’s not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it’s more than that because it just doesn’t happen for 99 per cent of athletes and we’re in a very privileged situation.
“I can’t wait to stand up and perform in front of 17,500 people – I’m just counting down those days until we get the chance to get there in the best shape possible and do everyone proud.”
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