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Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 11:35 UK

Haffield ready to take on Phelps

Thomas Haffield
Haffield is hoping to emulate Olympic medallist pal David Davies

Thomas Haffield is ranked number two in the world but the Olympic swimmer admits "No-one knows who I am!"

The 400m medley specialist will go head-to-head with American great and six-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps at the Beijing Games.

But the 20-year-old said: "No one really knows who I am so I don't feel any pressure going into this Olympic Games.

"It's just going to be fun and a great experience."

Welsh swimmer Haffield is expected to face Olympic legend Phelps - who has also won 17 World Championship golds - if the pair make it through to the finals in Beijing.

But despite being in such famous company, rookie Haffield is unfazed.

DAVID v GOLIATH
Michael Phelps
Thomas Haffield
Born: January 28, 1988 in Neath
Height: 5ft 11 ins
Weight: 10st 2lbs
Club: City of Cardiff
Achievements: sixth - World Short Course Championships, 6th - Commonwealth Games
Michael Phelps
Born: June 30, 1985 in Baltimore
Height: 6ft 4 ins
Weight: 13st 9lbs
Club: Wolverine (University of Michigan)
Achievements: six Olympic, 17 World Championship (long course), one World Championship (short course) and eight Pan Pacific titles, holds six world records and four-times World Swimmer of the Year and

"I am going to be up against the best swimmers in the world, but I'll be OK," he said.

"I remember when I was 15 or 16 I saw Michael Phelps at a meet in America.

"At that point I never thought I would be racing against him - now I could be and that's something to be proud of."

But Haffield is under no illusions about how big a task beating Phelps would be, especially considering the two swimmers differing physiques.

"Michael must be almost a foot taller than me!" joked the Neath-born youngster.

"And I weigh less than most of the girls on the team! But it just means I have to work harder when I get in the pool."

To ensure that he enjoys the Beijing experience, Haffield, is not setting himself any targets.

"I am not looking at getting a medal at this Olympics," said Haffield.

"I just want to get a lot of experience, and if I can make it to the finals I'd be really happy with that."

And the trip to Beijing will be the ideal opportunity for Haffield to catch up with one of his best mates - fellow Welsh swimmer and Olympic medal hopeful David Davies.

Commonwealth champion Davies, who won bronze in the 1500m freestyle at the Athens Olympics, used to train with Haffield before moving to Loughborough and the two are firm friends.

He said: "I've trained with David for about seven years so we a good friends and hopefully we will be sharing a room at the Olympic holding camp at Osaka.

"If I could do what he did in Athens it would be amazing but as I said I'm not putting any pressure on myself to be the next David Davies or anything."


see also
Team GB for Beijing
29 Nov 07 |  Team GB
Swimming on the BBC
02 Oct 07 |  Swimming


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