PHOENIX, Arizona, September 7. ROSS Davenport is, like many British athletes, anxious for the upcoming London Olympics, and on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show, he talks about his goals of swimming in the 200 freestyle final next year.
Davenport talks about the tough competition bound to be in that final, and how making that top eight would end a streak of 10th-place finishes. He also talks about Great Britain's relay chances, his unique training and the friendly rivalry with Robbie Renwick. Watch the full show in the video player below and visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Show Transcript: (Note: This is an automated service where some typos and grammatical errors may occur.)
Peter Busch: This is the Morning Swim Show for Wednesday, September 7th, 2011. I'm your host Peter Busch in the FINIS Monitor today. We'll talk to Ross Davenport. The British freestyler was tenth at the world championships in the 200 free. Ross joins right now in the FINIS monitor from Loughborough, Great Britain. Hey, Ross, welcome to the Morning Swim Show. How are you?
Ross Davenport: Very good, thank you, Peter. Great to talk to you.
Peter Busch: Great to have you. I got to imagine the place is really starting to buzz at this point with the Olympics now just ten months away.
Ross Davenport: It's a great atmosphere around here in Lufbra and, as it is in the whole of Great Britain at the minute, it's a real honor and a privilege to be an athlete at this time going into a home Olympics. And fingers crossed, me personally, I'll be there competing, but we've got a great fantastic group here in Loughborough and everybody really is excited about next year.
Peter Busch: You were tenth, as we mentioned, in Shanghai in 200 free, tenth as well in the same event in Beijing. I gotta imagine right now the goal beyond making the team is cracking that top eight.
Ross Davenport: Oh, it's definitely. Now, at this point in Beijing not to make the final, of course, an Olympic final is a great honor especially an individual, made it the full by 200, and again the same place in Shanghai a couple of months ago. So, definitely, the goal is to qualify next year in March and then to move up the rankings and really get in that final in the 200 meter freestyle, because there's some great guys in that race and it will be fantastic to race against them.
Peter Busch: Where is one place you just have to make a jump to get into the top eight?
Ross Davenport: I don't think it's one place in particular but, you know, there's lots of little .1 of a percent that we need to make the difference. And I think, combined, that will make the difference in coming from — coming tenth into make in the final or not.
Peter Busch: Who do you think will win the 200 next year?
Ross Davenport: You know, I think you can call one of six people. There's the six guys in the world at the minute going under 1:45. It's an incredible event and it's, you know, anybody's guess, but, you obviously, Ryan Lochte winning the world championship. It'd be foolish to bet against him, but then again we're foolish to be against Michael Phelps, so who knows. It's gonna be an incredible race to watch. I just hope — hopefully for me I'm not watching it and I'm actually competing in it, you know, fighting out with the best in the world.
Peter Busch: That'd be something, huh?
Ross Davenport: It'd be absolutely incredible. I think it's certainly one of the most anticipated races. And then you've got the likes of Ian Thorpe. Will he be back to shape then? Will he be able to go under 1:45 and be in the contention? Who knows? It's just, you know, it's incredible event and it's gonna be fantastic to watch.
Peter Busch: I must imagine there's quite a bit of excitement, too, thinking about relay potential for the Brits next year. I mean, all three relays really have, you know, decent chances at a medal. What do you think about your four by two?
Ross Davenport: Well, I think the four by two is, you know, we came sixth at the world championships and it was for us a good position we manage to, obviously, win our sixth position. Moving on to next year, we need to move up. We need to — we know we can improve. There is areas we can improve on. And like you say, yeah, there's certainly medals available if we make that step up, use the home environment, use the atmosphere to our advantage. We can certainly make the step up and like you say, all the three relays are looking great at the minute. And the men's four by — well, medley relay is also looking very good. So, you know, we are in a good position right now where, you know, probably not tipped to medal and, hopefully, fingers crossed, we can put in a performance with the home crowd behind us and get up onto that podium which would be — it would just be a fantastic feeling.
Peter Busch: You'll certainly have the adrenaline going I'm sure. Are there any young up and comers in British swimming right now that give you a little bit more hope that by next year, you have maybe that fourth person that you've been missing to move up to the medal stand?
Ross Davenport: Yeah, there's, to be honest, there's a whole wealth of youngsters coming through. Rob Bale, he didn't make the world championships this year, had a little bit of an indifferent year, but he was flying two years ago and he wasn't on the scene this year. So he's gonna back to his best next year. Jak Scott, who swam with us in the final at Shanghai. He's a young lad, he's growing, he's developing, he's learning every time he does it. So he's gonna be there thereabouts. Josh Welsh he was — also he was an alternative in the relay. He's a great swimmer as well. So there's lot of youth coming through just keeping us all on our toes. And I'm sure with the home Olympics, there's, you know, there's a lot of youngsters that wanna make the Olympics and there's a lot of older guys that are hanging on. So the depth in swimming at the minute in Britain is absolutely amazing and it's, you know, it's — can only be a good thing for us as a nation going into home Olympics.
Peter Busch: You mentioned Phelps and Lochte. You have your own rivalry going with your countryman Robbie Renwick. You guys seem to alternate between top spot in the 200 freestyle. What would you say is the relationship between you guys?
Ross Davenport: I think one of the great things about swimming for Great Britain is the bond that everybody has. Everybody genuinely are all great friends. Whether you're competing against them or different strokes or male or female, everybody gets on together and it's such a great atmosphere. And that's gonna help us next year moving on into London. And I think that bond is what's gonna make the difference from, you know, probably this year where we probably had a few falls, a few fifths, sixths, missing medals by couple of tenths. Next year we're gonna have the whole team behind us as well as a whole nation, and I think that's gonna make the difference next year. But like you say, mine and Robbie's relationship is like anybody on the team. It's a great relationship. And we have literally flip-flopped who's in the number one rank, 200 freestyle in the country, for the last six or seven years. So this year is — well, today it's me this year and, hopefully, I can continue that next year. But I know he's a great competitor and he trains hard and he'll be trying to get that mantel back next year. So, hopefully, I'll be able to, you know, keep him at bay just for another year, at least.
Peter Busch: Well, someone that your train with everyday who a lot of our viewers know, Liam Tancock, how's he doing? I mean, he's certainly one of your country's best chances for a medal next year.
Ross Davenport: Yeah, certainly. Liam is a great athlete, you know, he's naturally strong. He was born to swim. And I think he has got a very good chance next of medley and he came, I think, it was sixth in the world championships this year, but he only missed the medal by, you know, couple of tenths. It was so, so close. And, of course, he's the world record holder and the world champion 50 bucks who's got all that speed. And I think he's, well, he's come back in great shape after a couple of weeks off and he is looking good. So fingers crossed that, you know, he can be one of our medleys next year because he deserves it. He's been there or thereabouts for the last, you know, since 2005. So fingers crossed he can do it and produce at an Olympic level.
Peter Busch: I was reading some interesting cross training that you guys do, rock climbing, kickboxing, stuff like that. Is that just to shake things up and not get bored or do you really feel like those specific exercises give you benefit in the water?
Ross Davenport: Both to be honest with you. You know, if anyone was doing kickboxing, they know it's incredibly hard. And you never see really an unfit boxer. So it's great for fitness, it's great for strength and power. Rock climbing again is all connected. Your arms and legs on the wall. You've got to be at one with yourself and you've got to use your core strength. Put drive in your legs, pull with your arms, which is exactly what you have to do when you're swimming. And we also do ballet. So it's, you know, one minute we're trying to kick seven bells, and the next we're trying to be elegant and trying to do a ballet routine. So it's, you know, it is a mixed bag but it's — from the results that we've got of the past few years as a squad and it certainly shows that it is actually helping us.
Peter Busch: You do ballet? Did I hear you right there?
Ross Davenport: Yeah, yeah — no leotards or anything like that, you know, still shorts and T-shirts but it's — it helps with our breathing, it helps with flexibility, and it's — again, you're using your core all the time which is something now that suits have gone, that you need to be more aware of your core and your position in the water. So we have a great ballet teacher that I think nearly understands that we're certainly not, you know, ballerinas or anything and we are actually swimmers and so it's great fun if nothing else, but it certainly does help.
Peter Busch: All right, so you make the final of the 200 free and you can dance out to the block, right?
Ross Davenport: Oh, certainly, yeah. I'll be waltzing out and pirouetting and I just won't be in my tutu, though.
Peter Busch: And if you get a medal, they can build a special podium where you can climb up.
Ross Davenport: I'll tell you why, if we get a medal I will wear a tutu, you know, and leggings.
Peter Busch: That will be brilliant. That would be brilliant to watch. Hey, what do you do outside the pool? I mean you're 27. Do you — are you a professional swimmer, do you have a part time job? If not, what do you do when swimming is done?
Ross Davenport: No, this is — I'm a full time athlete, and, you know, I've got my goal of making it to next year's Olympics. We're gonna have to — well, I'm gonna have to reassess after that to see where we go from there. But I still love swimming, I still enjoy it, I've still got the hunger to get up every morning and go training. So, you know, the benchmark is definitely next year. Hopefully, I carry on for another couple of years. But, I'd like to do a job that keeps me active, keeps me fit. You know, I think it'd be such be a shame that we spend 20-odd years swimming, keeping fit, keeping active, to just go and let it all go and become fat and unfit. So, I'd like something that will keep me active. I also would like to give something back to the community and helps other people. So in a minute I'm thinking along the lines of the fire service, but in Britain it's incredibly hard to get into, you know, you can get up to eight thousand applicants for four or five jobs. So I also realize it's gonna be very hard to get into. So it's something that I'm planning now for when retirement comes that I can — I'm ready and prepared to go into a job.
Peter Busch: I think after next summer your name will stand out a little bit at home.
Ross Davenport: Well, it will be if I get that medal and I'm on the podium without those leggings on, but, you know, I think next year is a great springboard for all those British athletes and to go and make a name for ourselves and to go on and really kick start our second career, whatever that may be whether it's in the media or whether it's going out there and getting jobs. I see this, I think, we'll look fantastic having spent 20-odd years doing one sport, highly dedicated, completely committed, and focused. So I think employers, you know, should want to buy our hands off because every day we get up trying to be the best in the world. You don't get that in a working environment very often.
Peter Busch: Ross, we learned a lot about you today. Thanks for joining us.
Ross Davenport: Thank you very much.
Peter Busch: You're welcome back on the show anytime. It was fun.
Ross Davenport: Cheers. Thank you.
Peter Busch: All right, that's Ross Davenport joining us in the FINIS Monitor from Great Britain. That's it for today's show. I'm Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.
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