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Ross Davenport Blog: Back to training

10th October 2011

Four-time Commonwealth medallist Ross Davenport reports on his efforts to get back in shape for the Olympic season, training at a makeshift boot-camp in Derbyshire and a warm-weather camp in Tenerife.

Fitness and fine-tuning have been the order of the last month , with rock climbing, kickboxing, camping in hurricanes and pushing cars up hills all thrown in for good measure.

One thing I took away from the World Championship was that my skill needs to improve if I’m to compete with the best.

Preparations are now well under way for the British Gas Swimming Championships in March and I’m firmly focused on getting in the best possible shape, stacking the odds in my favour for London 2012 qualification.

The current focus of our training is to get fit, lose any residue holiday weight, develop raw speed and concentrate on racing skill.

One thing I took away from the World Championship earlier this year was the knowledge that my skill needs to improve if I’m to compete with the best. This means my starts need to improve and my turns need to be faster and more efficient. On top of this I need to continue working on my general fitness to achieve faster finishes.

All these things take time to implement but the signs indicate that I’m moving in the right direction, which is very pleasing.

TRAINING CAMPS

The past four weeks have seen our group continue with the unconventional training methods. Provided you arrive at the same place, mixing up training is beneficial for athletes.

As the saying goes: ‘there are many ways to skin a cat.’ Boredom leads to athletes going stale, which is the last thing any athlete or coach wants, especially in Olympic year.

So we have continued to rock climb, kick-box, run, lift weights, complete gym circuits and, of course, swim. But in the middle of all this we went as a group to Carsington Water in Derbyshire to camp and exercise for a couple of nights: a mini boot camp for swimmers.

It was just our luck to pick the week Britain experienced the tail-end of a transatlantic hurricane, which made a challenge of trying to pitch up our tents and sleep beneath the stars!

Having said this, the couple of nights we stayed at the campsite were brilliant. We walked, ran, cycled, canoed, built rafts, rock climbed and pushed a car up a hill. I have camped before but this was no regular camping trip.

Both as individuals and as a group, we revelled in the different challenges.

WARM-WEATHER TRAINING

This week I returned from a training camp in Tenerife with the Loughborough University team. Whereas I usually train at Loughborough’s British Gas ITC (Intense Training Centre) and our group only consists of eight swimmers, this time we went away with all the Loughborough students, making up a group of 35 swimmers.

It’s been great competing against different swimmers. There wasn’t any car-pushing, canoe racing or raft building, but much more swimming. It was great to get away, increase our fitness, speed and strength. All whilst being under the watchful eye of the sun!

This month has been busy out of the pool as well. I was asked to open Identity, a watch store in Derby’s Westfield shopping centre. It was great to learn about all the different watches they had in store and to obtain a little knowledge of the industry.

I was also asked to ‘keep watch’ over my 10 and a half month old goddaughter Daisy-Mae. This gave a little insight into how demanding babies can be, but at the same time, how rewarding it is! I really enjoyed myself for the day and I’m sure if she could talk, she would have said the same!


THE MIGHTY RAMS

Almost as rewarding was a day out to watch my beloved Derby County Football Club in the East Midlands local derby match. My best friend Dean and I managed to get tickets for the match against our close rivals, Nottingham Forest: always a fierce encounter and tickets are like gold dust.

With one man sent off and one goal conceded within 64 seconds, we feared the worst. But Derby staged a remarkable comeback to win 1-2, which left our away stand literally rocking!

This was a giant achievement after being beaten in the same fixture 5-2 less than 10 months ago, and a great day for the football club and the city.

As life in the pool starts the increase, free time and social time become downtime: time to let the body recover from the gruelling previous week and get ready for the punishing week ahead.

With two eyes and one mind firmly focussed on the Olympic trials in March, again I thank you for all your support.

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

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