Darren travelled to Eilat, Isreal with the British Open Water Swimming Team between May 1st-9th.
The team arrived 5 days before the competition started in order to acclimatise to the Israeli weather and give the swimmers the best possible preparation for what was an extremely important race.
The team comprised Britain’s best open water swimmers who were competing in the LEN cup. There was additional pressure placed on the swimmers as the competition was being used as a selection event for this summer’s World Open Water Swimming Championships in Shanghai. As if that wasn’t enough, the event also doubled up as the first part of the Olympic trials for London 2012.
Four men, including double Olympic medalist David Davies and five women, including Olympic medallists Kerri-Anne Payne and Cassi Patten, were aiming to finish as the top two British swimmers in order to claim their place on the World Championship team. Once at the World Championships, our British representatives have to finish in a top 10 position to qualify for London 2012. The harsh reality for the swimmers was this; finish outside the top 2 Brits in Israel, forget open water swimming in London 2012.
The womens 10k event was won in a World record time by Kerri Anne Payne of Great Britain, with Cassie Pattern claiming her seat on the plane to Shanghi by finishing as the second British swimmer.
There was an upset in the men’s race with David Davies leading from the start, only to take a wrong turn which cost him the lead and eventually his position on the open water team for 2012. The first British swimmer home was Daniel Fogg, closely followed by youngster Tom Allen. Both men are are both looking for a top 10 finish in Shanghai to qualify for London next year.
Darren spent much of his time physically preparing the swimmers for what is widely acknowledged to be the toughest event in swimming ‘The 10K takes the swimmers nearly 2 hours, so they have to be very well conditioned and prepared to swim well. Many of the swimmers need quite aggressive manual therapy to recover from training and prepare for competition so I was kept busy all week. Open water swimming can be extremely tactical as well and awareness of where you are on the course and in the race is paramount. One small lapse in concentration can cost you the race’.
Darren is now looking forward to supporting the team in Shanghai at the World Championships in July. Keep an eye on our news page to see how he and the team get on…….