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Swimming - 18. April 2008.

SIMMONDS SWITCHES OLYMPIC PREPARATION TO LOUGHBOROUGH



The backstroke specialist will begin full-time training at the 50m facility on Monday and joins Ben Titley's group of athletes, which include World medallists Liam Tancock and Caitlin McClatchey.

Simmonds will now be able to train with a team of support staff and sport scientists that are based at Loughborough as she looks to focus everything on achieving the best possible result in August.

"It was a difficult decision to leave Lincoln but after having discussions with Marc [Spackman] we both decided that it would be a natural progression for me," said Simmonds. "Loughborough University will provide me with the perfect environment to help my development towards the Olympic Games.

"Moving to Loughborough is the next step in my development, I will get to work with other athletes that are ranked higher than me in the world and I will be able to aspire to meet their level.

"Loughborough University will provide a professional environment with specialist weight areas and dedicated staff that will help me take the step up that I am ready to take.

Simmonds claimed a silver medal in the 200m Backstroke at the World Swimming Championships (25m) in Manchester and became the second fastest woman in history to swim the distance.

The 17-year-old also qualified for her first Olympic squad after claiming gold and silver in the 200m and 100m Backstroke at this year's British Championships (50m) and she looks back on her time at Lincoln Vulcans fondly.

"Lincoln is a great club and I enjoyed my time there but now I am ready to re-focus my training and work in an environment where I can have constant access to a long-course pool," she said.

"I have thanked Marc for everything he has done for me. We are both very proud of everything we have achieved together and my recent achievements go a long way to show how well we worked together."

Simmonds leaves Lincoln Vulcans with the full support of her former coach Marc Spackman who feels the benefits of the swimmer's programme will have a major impact on her performance at the biggest sporting event in the world this summer.

"I wish Lizzie luck in her new environment," Spackman said. "I hope she can achieve everything she aims to. I know she is an extremely talented swimmer and I know she has the potential to be an Olympic champion one day.

"The facilities in Loughborough are great and she will be training alongside some of the best athletes in the country which I believe will push her forward.

"As a club Lincoln Vulcans has a history of producing world class swimmers (including Kate Haywood and Lizzie Simmonds) through its swimming programme and is committed to producing swimmers of this calibre in the future."
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