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British Champs build-up: Ross Davenport blog

7 February 2011

Four-time Commonwealth medallist Ross Davenport mixes safari and swimming as he begins his preparation for the British Gas Swimming Championships 2011 at a training camp in Durban, South Africa.

On my way down to Heathrow for what seemed like the hundredth time, I took a moment to realise how lucky and privileged I am.

During the past six months, swimming has taken me to Budapest, Doha, Delhi and Florida!

It shouldn’t be taken for granted – travelling the world, seeing different cultures and meeting new people, all in the process of chasing my dream to compete at a home Olympics in 15 months time.

During the past six months swimming alone has taken me to Budapest, Doha, Delhi and Florida. This time I was on my way to Durban, South Africa for a training camp.

After an 11-hour flight to Johannesburg, a domestic flight to Durban and a short drive, our training group reached the house at around 7pm. We quickly dropped off our bags before exploring our new home for the next three weeks and, of course, taking a quick dip to loosen off. 

On first viewing, the pool looked like it was built in the 1960s! But all the same it was a ten lane 50m pool with an eight lane 25m pool next to it. It reminded me of an old lido but we get the use of the pool whenever we want and all the space we need, so it’s perfect for us.

Two amazing maids cook breakfast and dinner for us as well as cleaning, washing and iron - it's like going back ten years and living at home again.

This training camp is very different to a normal camp because we’re all staying in a large house that’s been converted specifically for swimmers who train at the pool.

I'm sharing a room with Liam Tancock and Grant Turner. We also share a communal living room and dining room with the girls: Lowri Tynan, Lizzie Simmonds and Fran Halsall.

We’re living a life of luxury thanks to two amazing maids who also live in the house. They cook breakfast and dinner for us, plus they do our cleaning, washing and ironing.It’s like going back ten years and living at home with your mum, having tea on the table after training!

We’re out here for the last big block of work before the British Championships which act as World Championship trials in Manchester. The trials are the first big competition of the year, with qualification for July’s World Championship in Shanghai the big target.

During our stay in South Africa we were invited to compete at the Port Elizabeth Invitational swim meet. About an hour’s flight south from Durban, the Port Elizabeth meet gave us the chance to race against other international swimmers and fine tune skills we’ve been working on since last year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

I raced a lot over the two days and put in some good performances. I'm still lacking on front end speed but that’ll come over the next four weeks as I start to taper into trials. (Tapering is where we decrease the volume and intensity in the lead up to a major competition).

After the competition we took a day off to drive up to Tala Safari park. We saw some great sights including Zebra, Giraffes, Warthogs, Elephants (I even met one) and Lions.

We tried to find the hippos but ended up getting stuck in some marsh land so had to turn back!!

The South African people have been really friendly and welcoming. It’s somewhere I’d definitely love to come back to, either with swimming or on holiday.

Now there’s just one week left of training here before we fly home, and then it’s just over three weeks until the trials. In this time I’m planning to rest up as much as possible, saving all my energy for the competition and hopefully gaining qualification to Shanghai!

Ross is supported by TBS Enterprise Mobility and Composed Communication - view his blogspot here.

Tickets are on sale for the British Gas Swimming Championships in Manchester, March 5-12th, 2011. Click here for more information.

Click here to join the British Gas Swimming Championships Facebook Event (must be 18+, must be signed in)

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