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18 Sep 2007

Olympic and World medallist David Davies will concentrate his training at Loughborough University as he sets his sights on the 2008 Beijing Games.

David Davies

The Welsh athlete, who won bronze in the 1500m Freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics and followed it up with bronze at the World Championships in 2005 and 2007, has decided to leave the Cardiff programme after 15 years.

The 22-year-old moved to Loughborough this week but will be spending much of his time this winter utilising British Swimming's Offshore Centre on the Gold Coast in Australia.

Davies' decision to move programmes in readiness for the Beijing Olympics comes as the distance swimmer looks to focus everything on achieving the best possible result in August of next year.

"It was a tough decision to leave Cardiff but I felt I needed a fresh stimulus and training alongside so many of the British squad at Loughborough will provide that," said Davies. "I'm looking forward to Loughborough being my base and working with coach Kevin Renshaw."

"I'm a big fan of the Loughborough Performance Centre. The pool is ideal and the support in place around you ranks alongside the best in the world.

"The atmosphere around the place is amazing and this will help me with the hard work we've identified between now and the Olympics."

Davies will undertake a lot of his preparation in Australia during the winter months and this is something he feels will provide a big advantage to him when the Games begin.

"I've got six weeks in Loughborough before I leave for Australia and the Offshore Centre where I'll spend a lot of the winter training with Renshaw," said Davies.

"I'll compete at the Queensland Championships in December before I return to the Gold Coast for Christmas to train with Chris Nesbit and his group of young swimmers.

"I've never trained on Christmas Day before but Nesbit, the Offshore boys and I have already committed to this as part of the programme of preparation for Beijing.

"I'll return to the UK in early January to get ready for next year's European Championships in March, we've got the World Championships in Manchester and then there isn't long left then until the Olympics so it's going to be a busy few months."

The decision hasn't been an easy one for the athlete as he leaves Cardiff, his long time coach Dave Haller and the many friends he has within the sport there.

"I have so much respect for Dave and I'm thankful for everything we've achieved together. He's made me the swimmer I am today and my career is a testament to him," explained Davies.

"I'll continue to swim for City of Cardiff, my club allegiance hasn't changed, and I've got so many friends and great memories of my time in the programme there. It's very close to my heart and it was a big draw to leave but I'll be back there soon to open the new pool."

Davies leaves Cardiff with the support of his former coach Haller who feels the benefits of the swimmer's programme will have a major impact on his performance at the Beijing Olympics.

"I understand Dave's reasoning behind his move and I think it will be good for him. Any move that he makes has to be a positive one and this will enable him to spend months training in Australia alongside other guys from the British squad," said Haller.

"He'll have access to long course, 50m facilities all of the time and he'll be able to train with the likes of coaches Renshaw and Nesbit.

"Australian Bob Treffene, who has had a tremendous impact on David's programme over the past five years, is based close to the Offshore Centre there and he'll continue to have input and help with his progress."

Haller is confident that Davies' work ethic coupled with the support in place will see the swimmer continue to improve and achieve in the biggest arenas around the world.

"It's been a big decision for Dave but knowing him I'm sure it will work. If he can get a good winter of work behind him in Loughborough and Australia it will be a huge advantage for him in Beijing," said Haller.

New coach Kevin Renshaw will introduce Davies to the Loughborough programme before leaving with the swimmer for Australia where a lot of the foundation work ahead of an Olympic year will take place.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to coach Dave. For me personally it's great to be able to work with someone of his calibre and professionalism," said Renshaw.

"A lot of time and planning from all involved has gone into the programme we've designed and our aim is to continue with the good work that has been done over recent years."

Davies' decision is supported by British Swimming which has a team of support staff and sports scientists based at Loughborough who will be able to dedicate time to his programme.

"We wish Dave Davies all the best in his new programme and will continue to support him in his preparation for the Beijing Olympics," said British Swimming Director of World Class Programmes John Atkinson.

"Davies has been an integral part of the British Swimming squad for many years now and has had a very successful career to date due to his commitment to and enthusiasm for the sport.

"With Dave Haller in Cardiff the pair formed a very strong partnership and the results are there to see. I know Dave Haller will continue to produce and nurture such swimming talents as Davies. His record as a coach is exemplary."