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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 20:00 GMT 21:00 UK
Too much too early
By Mark Foster
Former British Olympic swimmer

When it comes down to it, we've had a lot of disappointing swims at the Olympics.

Personally, I think so much emphasis was put on the trials back in April that a lot of our guys have left their best swims and their best times in the pool five months ago.

Darren Mew
Darren Mew is one of those who have disappointed

There are no gold medals handed out in April and being ranked number one in the world then means nothing when you go into the Olympics or any major championships.

I'm a great believer that the trials should be held two weeks before the Olympics.

We're gearing our season far too much for my liking around the trials. We need to be at our peak in August.

We should have been looking at a lot more medals by now.

If people like Darren Mew, Ian Edmond, Katy Sexton and Melanie Marshall had produced their best times we'd have had several already.

I also think that our athletes are being wrapped in cotton wool too much and almost treated like kids.

We are in danger of underachieving at the event
Mark Foster

A lot has been made of this terrifying place called 'the Olympics' and people have been walking out and freezing thinking 'Oh my God, this is the Olympics'.

I'm not saying it isn't daunting, but if you've been treated like a 15-year-old in the build-up, then you don't know any different when you go out to compete.

The average age of the team is probably around mid-twenties and you can't make it like a boot camp.

It is a team but it is a team made up of individuals and people need to be themselves.

When I stand on the block, it's nice having a team behind me, but I'm there to do a job and I have to do that job on my own.

Stephen Parry
Stephen Parry's medal could lift the team

By putting too much emphasis on the team, it seems that if one person fails, the whole team slumps with them.

But hopefully Stephen Parry's bronze medal will lift them and to look on the positive side, we've still got Rebecca Cooke, David Davies, Gregor Tait and James Goddard to come.

However, we are in danger of underachieving at the event and we have played down our medal chances just to decrease the expectations.

Seven medals would have been great, five would have been good, three would have been expected but anything less than three will be a bit of a disaster.





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