Smith banishes Beijing demons

Amy Smith says she has finally banished her Beijing 2008 demons after ensuring qualification for London 2012, claiming an individual spot at the Olympics is an added bonus.

Eurosport

The 24-year-old clinched her place at the London 2012 Olympics in both the 50m and 100m freestyle competitions, setting personal bests in each to bag two silver medals, both behind Fran Halsall at March's British Gas Championships.

It means that Smith is now counting the days until she returns to the London 2012 Aquatics Centre where she can add the 4x100m freestyle relay to her hectic schedule - something she will take plenty of relish from.

Four years ago Smith had high hopes of reaching the Beijing 2008 Olympics via the relay but agonisingly missed out, but with two individual events as well as a relay berth this time around, she believes she's more than made up for it.

"Four years ago, at the trials for Beijing 2008, I was aiming for a relay spot and missed out on that so I came back fighting this time," said Smith.

"At the last couple of internationals I had managed to get an individual spot so if I hadn't got there it would have been disappointing but there are a lot of strong girls - that's why I describe it as a bonus.

"Not a lot is going to change in my training regime because it worked for the trials. I think I might do a bit more gym work because I believe that helped last season and I'll train all the way up to the Olympics - that's my total focus now.

"There's been a lot of support back home from friends, family and the local media and that's been great. To compete at a home Olympics is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - not a great deal of athletes will get to do it at all - so I think we're really lucky to have it here."

Ever the perfectionist, Smith still believes there are improvements to be made despite two personal bests at the British Gas Championships, admitting there was a hint of disappointment at failing to duck under the 54-second barrier over 100m by just 0.02 seconds.

But Smith also believes that there's no better time to do it than on her return to the Olympic Aquatics Centre this summer.

"I was really happy with my swims at the British Gas Championships. My aim was to come in and qualify for the Olympics preferably in an individual event as well," she added.

"I love doing the relays and I really wanted to be in those and the individual was a bit of a bonus. I was really happy with my performance, I clocked 54.01 in the 100m and, while I'd have loved to be in the 53s, I can't ask for more than a personal best really.

"I'll save breaking the 54-second barrier for the summer."

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