JOE Roebuck insists he will be within striking distance of Olympic bronze next summer – despite his World Championship campaign fizzling out in the 400m medley heats in Shanghai.
Roebuck’s rise to international prominence, which included European bronze and double Commonwealth silver last year, suffered its first major set-back when he crashed out of the 200m medley heats last week.
Having also exited the 200m butterfly in the heats, the Rotherham swimmer failed to break the sequence when he finished 10th in 4.16.95 seconds – 0.27 secs shy of a spot in the 400m final.
With under 12 months to go until the Olympics it has been a worrying week for Roebuck but beyond American sensations Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte the 26-year-old believes the race to fill next summer’s 200m podium is wide open.
“I’m pretty gutted that the week did not gone how I expected it to do and the expectations I set have not been hit and I’ve not done what I came here to do,” said Roebuck. “But then if you look at the rankings for this year I am still ranked in the top bracket for the medals come the Olympics.
“I’m taking the first two medals out of that with Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the 200m Individual Medley but the bronze medal is all to play for and anyone who makes the final has got a shot of getting in there.
“I’m still knocking on that door even though I’m not on form so when I am back to my best it suggests I will be in a good position.”
Roebuck admitted to being puzzled by his form after failing to progress in the 200m event he garnered a bronze medal from in Budapest and silver in Delhi.
But after mulling it over in his head during eight days of competition in Shanghai, the medley specialist believes a succession of minor injuries is to blame. I’ve had a few small niggling injuries in training over the season, never anything major but they have accumulated and had more of an impact than we expected them to,” added Roebuck.
“When I got here I felt like I was in good shape but I guess they just caught up with me.
“It’s nothing to worry about though because I should be fine for the trials and the Olympics.”
British Gas is supporting the British Gas GBR Swimming Team to win more gold medals, as part of its partnership with the sport. For more information visit www.britishgas.co.uk/swimming