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Ben Proud says winning Commonwealth gold in 2022 would be his 'legacy'

Ben Proud has said that winning a third consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2022 would be his legacy.

Proud was victorious in the Men’s 50m Freestyle at both the Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Games and says that completing the hat-trick in Birmingham has been a ‘big motivation’ for the last four years.

When asked if his sights are still firmly set on that goal, he said: “Yes definitely. That was a very key thing that, when I said in 2018 that I was going to come back in 2022 and retain both my titles, that has stuck with me through the entire four years.

“So it’s definitely been a big motivation to carry on going until then.”

‘Pivotal point in my career’

Proud also won gold in the Men’s 50m Butterfly at the 2014 edition of the event but had no opportunity to defend his title in 2018 as he was disqualified from that event on the opening day of competition.

“When I speak to people about my career and my retirement and what I’m going to do with my swimming, what I’ve always said is that I’m going to go full steam ahead until 2022 for the Commonwealth Games so that I can retain the 50 free and also try to take back the 50 fly which is something I lost in 2018.

“It’s a pivotal point in my career because I think for me, being able to do the double gold in 2022, eight years after I did it in 2014 which was the start of my international career, that to me would be my legacy and what I will strive to do.”

The 28-year-old has enjoyed a decorated career so far and feels proud when reflecting on the years between 2016 and now.

He said: “Since 2016, I think I’ve been in the top five or six in the world, in the finals, year after year.

“That is something I should be proud of but I still want to chase those medals but at the same time, I can’t put that pressure on myself.”

‘Bigger than it should be’

Speaking on the upcoming Games in Birmingham which will see the swimming action begin on 29 July, he said: “It’s probably bigger than it should be for me.

“The Commonwealth Games to English and British athletes is an awesome meet to be a part of, it’s great fun and it’s also great to go there and get medals.

“It’s going to be exciting but my aim is to go there and do as well as I can and get both medals that I got in 2014.”

When asked if the event being on home soil heightens pressure of expectation, he said: “I wouldn’t say pressure, it makes it exciting because apart from Glasgow, I can’t think of another home games that I’ve had – apart from Europeans but that was just before the Olympics last time.

“I think that I’m more excited because it’s at home, potentially I can have family there watching.

“Being English, it’s only once every four years that you get a chance to race for your country and I’m excited to put all the work that I’ve done in the past six, seven, eight years to good use and show that I’ve been able to maintain my career for x number of years.

‘No reason not to aim for L.A’

Looking ahead to the next steps in his career, Proud said he ‘sees no reason not to aim for L.A’ which would see him competing at his fourth Olympic Games.

“I’m still definitely going to aim for Paris and I see no reason not to aim for L.A. I think my career has had this natural progression towards a more sustainable way of swimming.

“I’m still training a lot in the water but I can see from Paris to L.A. being a bit more of a phase away from swimming while still keeping enough in the tank to compete and be up there which I’m looking forward to trialling that later.

“There are guys that are doing so well in their mid to later 30s that there’s no reason why I can’t do the same.

“I think the biggest factor will be if I want to and if I choose to carry on going.”