Payne positive after first Serpentine swim as Willis seeks to ‘seize the moment’

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27th July 2012

World 10km champion Keri-anne Payne was in a positive mood after her first training session in the Serpentine but insisted Olympic gold will be no formality.

The 24-year old tested out the Olympic open water venue in a training session yesterday and will return to Hyde Park on 9th August as she aims to upgrade her 10km Marathon silver from four years ago.

I had to battle with a few ducks and reeds but I’m glad I’ve been in there and worked through it.

Payne confirmed the temperature of the water was in her favour – a comfortably 21 degrees compared to the 30 degrees she swam in at last year’s World Championships in Shanghai.

But conditions and form have established Payne as the number one contender in London, she is adamant she has a battle on her hands to secure the Olympic title.

“As world champion, many people think the medal is already around my neck but it is not that easy,” said Payne.

“I wish it was like that but it’s not, unfortunately!

“But the whole team are training hard and focusing on our events. My swim in the Serptentine was great – the water temperature was about 21 degrees which was very good.

“I had to battle with a few ducks and reeds but I’m glad I’ve been in there and worked through it.

“I’ve swum through worse and everyone knows it’s not a glamorous sport.”

While Payne was out in the Serpentine, the rest of the British swimmers were in the Aquatics Centre, re-acquainting themselves with the pool and putting the finishing touches to their preparation.

Andrew Willis made the World Championship 200m Breaststroke final at the first attempt last season and will be hoping to repeat the feat at his first Olympics.

And the 21-year old admitted he was desperate to seize the moment in what may prove to be the biggest races of his career.

“The Commonwealths in 2010 was a big experience for me but this Village is overwhelming in comparison,” said Willis. “There is so much to see and do.

“I think these will be the biggest races of my life because it’s an Olympics and it’s a home Olympics.

“Realistically, I want to get into the final – I’m going to swim every round as if it’s the final but hopefully I can progress through to that final.

“For me it’s about keeping it simple and relaxing as much as I can. If you start focusing too much on the event, you’ll overthink the whole process.

“You can enjoy it – just take as much in as you can and stay relaxed.”

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