HE suffered a career threatening injury more than 12 months ago but now Sheffield-based Ben Swain is on the verge of a return to full fitness and is eyeing a London 2012 diving berth.
The 24-year-old, who moved to South Yorkshire from Welwyn Garden City, Herts, to further his sporting aspirations as a 16-year-old, is targeting an appearance at the FINA World Series event at Ponds Forge, Sheffield in April as he continues his long and painful rehabilitation from tearing his anterior cruciate ligament 13 months ago.
Swain made the unlikeliest of returns to competitive diving action at the National Championships in Southend last month but without a base of training behind him, the promising Brit failed to be competitive.
Yet despite missing out on a full year’s training, Swain insists his dream of being competitive at London 2012 is still a distinct possibility.
“I am about 90 percent fit at the moment and it is just the finishing touches that I just need to sort out now to get everything back to the standard that I was at before the injury,” said Swain, who would see his Olympic campaign kick-off on July 29, with London 2012 tickets going on sale on March 15 for six weeks.
“I am confident I can get to London. At the National Championships in Southend last month I obviously wasn’t challenging for the top spots as I would have liked to have been normally.
“But I was a lot more competitive than I thought I would be and my performances were a lot better than I had originally hoped so I was really pleased and it gave me a lot of confidence with London 2012 in mind.
“I have been able to work on my upper body strength and also on the technical side of things. I have been able to work on the psychology of the sport so there has been a silver lining to the injury.”
Like the majority of the British squad, Swain had hoped to add a new dive to his repertoire in the run-up to London 2012.
But after missing 12 months out through injury, the Sheffield-based Brit admits it would be foolish to experiment with just 500 days to go until the flame is lit at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“The injury has set me back and I have had to change some things in my training,” he added.
“Before the injury I had some new dives that I wanted to work on before London 2012 and have perfected for those Olympics.
“But with the injury I have had to put those on hold until after London 2012.
“But despite that I don’t think that is going to limit me at London. Obviously it would have been nice to go there with some new dives but the dives I had before I was injured had been good enough for me to be competitive at a world level so I am still confident I can be challenging if I get to London 2012.
“I am really excited about London already and it is one of those things that motivate you. It certainly gets me out of bed in the morning.”
Get closer to the London 2012 Olympic Games with Lloyds TSB. Find out what we’re doing in your community and sign up for customer-exclusive updates and a chance to win 2012 tickets at lloydstsb.com/trackside