Parry backs Tancock for glory

Sun, 04 Dec 18:37:00 2011

Olympic bronze medallist Steve Parry has coined his own nickname for Liam Tancock -- and he is adamant the ‘Ram Man’ can power his way to an Olympic medal next year.

Liam Tancock of England celebrates after winning the men's 100m backstroke swimming finals during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi - 0

The 26-year-old has been by far and away Britain's best male performer since the Beijing Olympics in 2008 – climbing the podium at every major international since then.

That amounts to eight medals in total – including double Commonwealth Games gold last year and the world 50m backstroke crown and record in 2009, a title he retained this summer.

His greatest challenge has long been transferring his efforts in the non-Olympic 50m discipline to the 100m with Tancock finishing fourth and sixth in it at the previous two World Championships.

He also finished sixth on his Olympic debut in Beijing but Parry, who won 200m butterfly bronze at the Athens Games in 2004, is certain he can produce a medal in London.

"Liam is an extremely strong swimmer and he always seems to deliver at meets," said Parry – speaking at the Manchester roadshow of the P&G UK supported 'nearest and dearest' scheme.

"He has medals at World Championships, he has won at the World Championships and he is a world record holder.

"I call him the Ram Man as he is so powerful and he has a lot of muscle. He knows how to win races and the slight thing now is whether he can move on from doing it in the 50m to the 100m.

"He will have to work on his aerobic fitness but he and his coach will be doing that and it will be for the better. He is in a position now where he has to do that.

"Liam seems to love being a swimmer, he is a tenacious racer and always cracks on and he knows what to do and I expect him to be in that Olympic final next year and challenging."

In a remarkable 100m backstroke final at July's World Championships French pair Camille Lacourt and Jeremy Stravius shared gold after both touched home in 52.76 seconds.

Tancock was less than half a second behind in 53.25 for sixth and naturally Parry, a former European champion, addresses them as his main rivals at next year's Olympics.

"Liam is competing in a golden era of backstroke at the minute. You have got Camille Lacourt and Jeremy Stravius who are both strong and knocking on the world record," he added.

"And the women's team in Britain is so, so strong and I would say they have got chances to medal in every event at the Olympics apart from the breaststroke.

"The men's team is a different story but there are still a couple of good chances. Liam, David Davies and James Goddard would fall into that and it will be the strongest team we have had for a long time."

Sportsbeat / Eurosport

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