Ross Davenport: Triple Olympian retires from swimming

Double Commonwealth champion and three-time Olympian Ross Davenport has retired from swimming.

The 28-year-old first represented Great Britain at the 2003 World Championships and has been a mainstay of the GB and England team for nearly a decade.

But Davenport told BBC Radio Derby it was "time to move on" after the high of competing at the London 2012 Olympics.

"It's a sad day but it is the right choice. Another Olympics is out of the question," he added.

"Retiring at 28 is bizarre to many people but in the swimming world there are not many people that go beyond 28. Looking to Rio I will be 32. My body wouldn't be able to cope with another Olympics and I wouldn't be able to make it.

"There was always that decision. Do you finish at an Olympic Games - especially a home one - or carry on for another couple of years and see where your career goes?

"What I didn't want to do was just drift out on the sport. I wanted to go out on a high, and what better way to go out than at London 2012?

"I still sometimes don't believe that it happened to me. Coming from a small town like Belper, you never dream that you can go to an Olympic Games or win two golds at a Commonwealth Games. Representing my country for the last 10 years has been an immense honour and privilege."

The Derbyshire swimmer won four Commonwealth Games medals, taking 200m freestyle gold in Melbourne in 2006, where he also won gold as part of the 4x200m freestyle relay team.

He also took silver in the 4x100m medley relay and was a silver medallist in Delhi in 2010 in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

Davenport, who swam at Loughborough University for nine years, failed to qualify for the individual 200m freestyle event in London, but was part of the British team that finished sixth in the 4x200 relay final.

He added: "The highlight of my career was winning gold at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 but the support we received from the crowds at London was one of the most memorable moments."

Davenport said he considered continuing but was always likely to retire.

"I was still very competitive," he said. "Last year I was number one in Britain. It is going out on a high. This year was not as good as I would have hoped, but it was certainly a high point in my career.

"Swimming at an Olympics and swimming next to Michael Phelps when he became the most successful Olympian ever is something I can always say I did. I can always be very proud of racing the very, very best at such an iconic moment in the time of our sport.

"I feel like I could have carried on for one more year, but the decision was whether I go out next year or go out now after London and this is right for me.

"I made a decision seven years ago that this was what I was going to do, make London 2012 and assess afterwards so it's always been in the planning."

Davenport is now mulling over his next career move but said he seemed destined to forever be involved in water.

He is currently working as an assistant coach at the City of Derby, where "it all started around 20 years ago".

But he has more pressing matters to deal with in the early hours of Thursday morning.

"I spent last night mopping up a leak in the ceiling - I had water flooding through my house," he said. "It looks like I will always be surrounded by water - especially when it's coming through your ceiling at one o'clock in the morning. Water will always be there!

"Since the last day of the Olympics, I have pretty much been busy every day day. I have been pro-active I wanted to put myself out there and see what was available for me. I appreciate times are hard for everybody finding jobs.

"Ultimately I have always been a massive fan of going into the fire service. That is one thing I have always wanted to do. In the current climate it is hard to do that.

"And I am working with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trustexternal-link which hopes to motivate and inspire disengaged and disadvantaged kids to better themselves in life and get them more employable

"That is more of a mentoring role and there are couple of things that I will hopefully be able to talk about in a couple of weeks.

"Coming out of the sport, it doesn't necessarily pay well but you are well looked after. I had to go out out and find something that suited me and I think I am just about there now."

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