Swain tipped as Olympic contender

PUBLISHED: 16:55 22 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:45 26 October 2009

Ben Swain and synchro partner Nick Robinson-Baker

Ben Swain and synchro partner Nick Robinson-Baker

FORMER WGC schoolboy Ben Swain is being tipped as a possible Olympic medallist after qualifying Great Britain for this summer s 2008 Beijing Games. With dive partner Nick Robinson-Baker, the former Monk s Walk pupil came fourth in the FINA World Cup in Be

FORMER WGC schoolboy Ben Swain is being tipped as a possible Olympic medallist after qualifying Great Britain for this summer's 2008 Beijing Games.

With dive partner Nick Robinson-Baker, the former Monk's Walk pupil came fourth in the FINA World Cup in Beijing in the men's 3m synchronised event to grab GB an Olympic spot in that discipline.

Despite such a high stake factor to the competition held at the Water Cube, home of the aquatic events of the 2008 Games, it was the British pair's relaxed approach that Swain feels was the difference in them doing so well in China.

"It's the strangest event I've ever competed in," said 21-year-old Swain, who started his diving career with the Hatfield-based Beaumont Academy.

"The pressure is so great but we both just really enjoyed ourselves.

"We loved every minute of it, felt relaxed throughout and couldn't wait for our next round of dives," he said.

"Anything is possible in this sport. You can't predict what the others teams are going to do, but in that respect it helps you to just focus on your performance and we did that so well."

His synchro partner Robinson-Baker, who sat out last year's FINA World Championships through injury, felt the result was a testament to the training the duo have endured over the past 12 months.

"It's an amazing feeling, to qualify for the Olympics, to beat World Championship medallists and get so close to the Olympic champions shows how far we've come and it's down to the hard work we've both put in," said Robinson-Baker.

"We didn't just scrape in either. We beat some established teams out there because we held it together throughout, we didn't miss a dive and our score reflects that.

"You go through years and years of training for nights like these.

"With six months to go to the Games it's a perfect place for us to be.

"I'm disappointed we came close but didn't get a medal, but you have to look at where we came from and we now know where we need to be in August."

British diving's national performance director, Steve Foley, was overwhelmed by the result and has tipped them as potential Olympic medallists come the summer.

He said: "These guys are a relatively new team and what they've done is simply amazing.

"It's hard not to get excited about these guys.

"They've shown how good they are and they have to be regarded as Olympic contenders given the company they've outshone.

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