Darren returned from the Open Water World Championships in Shanghai at the end of July confident that Team GB swimming will bring home more medals in London 2012.
Darren travelled to Osaka, Japan on 10th July as lead physiotherapist for Great Britain’s Open Water Swimming Team. Osaka staged the holding camp – a preparatory training camp before the beginning of the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai. ‘The holding camp was fantastic – we had excellent facilities and accommodation and preparations went well’.
The team travelled to Jinshan City Beach, about 90 minutes from the centre of Shanghai, 3 days before the start of the competition, held from July 19–23rd. This years world championships held an extra degree of importance as it doubled as a qualification event for next years London Olympics – the first 10 swimmer’s would automatically gain a place on their respective Olympic teams.
The first event of the championships was the women’s 10k where Great Britains Keri-Anne Payne and Cassie Pattern were amongst the competitors. Keri-Anne had an amazing start, using her tight streamlining and dolphin kick to emerge in first position after diving from the pontoon. Payne dominated the field from then on, using her vast experience to maintain her lead despite a strong challenge in the final 200 meters from second placed swimmer Martina Grimalde of Italy. In winning the event Keri-Anne became the first member of Team GB, in any sport to qualify for London 2012.
Olympic bronze medalist, Cassie Pattern was disappointed with her 21st place finish. She had been troubled by an ongoing shoulder injury for most of 2011 which required an injection before flying out to Osaka. Pattern now hopes to fight for an Olympic spot in next years Olympic trials in March.
Great Britains Dan Fogg and Tom Allen were competing on day 2 in the mens 10k. Fogg followed in the footsteps of Payne for the first 9,000 meters, leading the feild and feeling comfortable. However he couldn’t respond to the late surge from the eventual winner, Spyros Gianniotis from Greece. Fogg was unable to keep up with the pace of the chasing pack and finished a disappointing 15th. Tom Allen, 19, from Swansea managed to get himself into 8th position at one stage in the race but again could not live with the change of pace in the final stages, finishing 26th.
Both men will now have to aim to qualify for the final Olympic qualification event in Portugal next June, where they will have to finish in the top 9 positions if the hope to get to London.
‘To be part of a gold medal winning team at the World Championships is certainly a career highlight for me as a physiotherapist’ enthused Darren. ‘I just hope we can repeat the feat next year in London!’
Find out Kerri-Anne Payne’s thoughts after her magnificent race in Shanghai @ http://www.keriannepayne.co.uk/