An email conversation with David Davies: 'Any swimmer would be ready for the Olympics at 3am if necessary'

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The Independent Online

You already have an Olympic medal, your 1500m freestyle bronze from Athens. What chance of repeating or beating that in China?

It's going to be much more difficult. Swimming has moved on massively in every event. Winning times from 2004 may not make finals now. There's more depth in every event. I'm in good shape and love racing on the big stage but it'll be the toughest competition of my life.

Australia's Grant Hackett is looking for a hat-trick of Olympic golds in the 1500m. Is he the man to beat? And what's he like as a competitor, and as a bloke?

His experience and natural talent make him the favourite. He's hungry, hates losing and will fight to the death. I have great respect for him as a competitor and feel privileged to compete against him. It's a friendly rivalry. We get on really well.

How do rate Poland's Mateusz Sawrymowicz (world champion), Russia's Yuri Prilukov (world silver) and America's Erik Vendt (fastest in 2008)? And would you agree that the medals will be split between them, Hackett and you?

Sawrymowicz and Prilukov are real tough competitors. Erik Vendt has been in the form of his life. He's been around a while and won two Olympic silvers already from his 400 individual medley (IM) days. It'll be silly to say it's those three, me and Hackett as there are so many more people in the mix. It's going to be a real dog fight.

You're also competing in the 10km open water, an event making its Games debut. What are the key differences in approach?

I'm playing down my chances. I've only swum two races at 10km. It's different, there are added tactics, some physicality of swimming in the pack. The Beijing flat rowing lake will be ideal for me.

Fresh talent is starting to emerge in Britain, especially a crop of rapidly improving girls. Who should we watch out for?

We shouldn't pressure for medals because it's a tough environment. I have faith the team will do GB proud. Without putting pressure on them, Hannah Miley (400m individual medley) Jemma Lowe (100m, 200m butterfly) and Becky Addlington (200m, 400m, 800m freestyle) are girls with massive talent and amazing form.

Swimsuit technology will be an ongoing issue this summer. Will you be wearing Speedo's LZR Racer in Beijing?

I'm a Speedo sponsored swimmer so will be wearing the LZR. I feel comfortable in it, that's my main ask from a suit.

All the finals in China will be swum in the mornings after a deal with NBC TV to make sure they're shown in US prime time. A good thing or not?

My training is designed to swim well both morning and evening. I've made some lifestyle changes to be more awake in the morning. It's sad tradition has been broken for TV but it won't bother me. Any swimmer would be ready at 3am for the Olympics if necessary.

Your sporting heroes include Haile Gebrselassie and Lance Armstrong. But who's your swimming hero?

Ian Thorpe was something else. I raced against him at my first Commonwealths. He had the perfect technique and destroyed world records from such a young age. It's sad he's not swimming any more. But he'd won it all.

Why on earth is your favourite movie 'Home Alone'?

No matter what mood I'm in, it'll always make me happy. It reminds me of Christmas as a kid.

What are the current five most played tunes on your iPod? And which single track has the ability to pump you up most before a race?

Wombats' "Backfire At The Disco". Pigeon Detectives' "This Is An Emergency". One Republic's "Stop And Stare". The Zutons' "Always Right Behind You". And The Kooks' "Shine On". I listen to dance stuff before I race, but Girls Aloud's "Something Kinda Ooh" really gets me going.

A visitor from Mars asks your advice on three things to do on holiday in Wales in a weekend. What do you say?

Go to Barry Island beach for a swim and sunbathe. Watch Wales play rugby at the Millennium Stadium. Dine down at Cardiff Bay, overlooking the river.

What's the furthest you've swum in training without stopping? How do you avoid boredom?

The 10k race I did in Seville. I sing songs or think about what I'll cook for dinner later on. It's not always as boring as people think. Each training session has a different emphasis.

You're a massive fan of Cardiff City. How was the FA Cup final and where do you think the Bluebirds will finish in the Championship next season?

The FA Cup final was the best atmosphere I've ever been in. It's a shame we lost but the team did us proud. Wembley is an amazing venue. I think we can make the play-offs next season.

You can host a dinner party for six people, real or fictional, from any time in history. Who and why? Where do you dine, and what do you eat?

We'd go to Nando's and have lots of chicken and corn on the cob in that amazing spice marinade. I'd ask Peter Kay for the jokes. Nelson Mandela for the stories and inspiration. George Best because he's a legend. Samuel Jackson for some of the best quotes and acting ever. Cat Deeley cos I've fancied her since I was 10. And Jennifer Aniston as my date.

David Davies is part of Team Speedo. For more information head to www.speedo.co.uk

Attachment

*Born 3 March, 1985, Barry, Wales

*Beijing Olympic disciplines: 1500m freestyle, 10km open water

*Olympic medal: Bronze, 1500m, Athens 2004

*Commonwealth medals (for Wales): 1500m gold (2006), 400m bronze (2006)

*World championships, long course: 1500m bronze (2005, 2007)

*World championships, short course: 1500m silver (2008)

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