Simmonds aims for perfect distance

Lizzie Simmonds believes her training regime over the past four years has made her the perfect 150m backstroke swimmer - in fact she'd probably win gold if it was an Olympic distance tomorrow.


But, with all that set to change after securing a London 2012 swim in the 200m but not the 100m, Simmonds is adamant it will be for the good of her actual Olympic medal hopes.

The 21-year-old travelled to London for the British Gas Championships in March fully expecting to book swims in the 100m and 200m having competed at every major international since 2008 in both.

However Simmonds stumbled in the 100m first up, admitting to error after error on the way to third, however she showed plenty of heart to return to the pool and win the 200m and secure her Olympic place.

Simmonds now has the rarity of training for just one event for the summer, something she hasn't done since qualifying for just the 200m for the 2007 World Championships, and she insists she's relishing doing so.

"I said to my coach after we finished the British Gas Championships that I train for the 100m and the 200m and if you average that out I am the perfect 150m swimmer," said Simmonds.

"And that came through a little bit at the actual event. I swam really well to 150m and then struggled a little bit over the last 50m but still managed to qualify and win and get on the team.

"It wasn't the best 200m race I have done but qualifying was literally all it was about and now I can take the focus off that little bit of speed and power and move towards the aerobic and endurance stuff.

"And I think it is definitely good for me to have that focus and not be stuck in the middle and trying to do both the 100m and the 200m. I am pleased about it now even though it started off as a bit of a negative.

"It is just going to be about getting back into training and getting my fitness right back up for the Games now and hopefully preparing the best we can and staying injury and illness free."

Simmonds' performances since she doubled up on her Olympic debut in Beijing in 2008 somewhat give credence to the fact that she needs to focus on one or the other.

Of the one Olympic, European and Commonwealth and two world appearances since then, Simmonds has regularly made finals in both but has only brought home two medals once.

That came at the Europeans in 2010 - as she won gold in the 200m and silver in the 100m - and having qualified in the former Simmonds admits it is that event that she has always held close to her heart.

"The 100m at the trials was disappointing and that failure was something that I had to overcome and it was a bit of a challenge to do that and get myself up for the 200m," she added.

"It was tough doing all the interviews after the 100m final and having two girls either side of me that had made the team as I kind of felt like it should have been me and not one of them.

"The 200m has always been my favourite and I have always trained a little bit for the 100m and a little bit for the 200m and that is quite a hard thing to do, so in hindsight what happened was probably a good thing."

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