Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Will and Skill of Champions

Muhammad Ali once said, "Champions are made from something they have from deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."

David Davies of Great Britain showed tremendous skill and an unbelievable will at the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Championships.

Unlike his 1500 meter pool rival, Grant Hackett of Australia, Davies held nothing back and took off right from the start, leaving nothing to chance.

Davies set off on a pace unprecedented in the marathon swimming and challenged the world-class field to keep up with him.

Unlike his more experienced competitors, Davies simply swam past the feeding stations. Around every turn buoy, Davies looked up, took a guess as to where to swim and led the field of 55 men on a path he blazed.

Only at the end was Davies just out-touched by 2-time 10K world champion Vladimir Dyatchin. But he qualified for the Olympics in an event he has only swum twice.

His 10K rival, Dyatchin, has dozens of major open water swims under his belt and was fortified by 3 different kinds of hydration formulated by the experienced and scientically-oriented Russian coaching staff. In contrast, Davies "went dry" throughout the entire race.

In Beijing under humid, hot and smoggy conditions, wearing an over-the-shoulder Speedo LZR, Davies looks to avenge that loss.

But, will he take it out and "swim dry" again, challenging everyone to maintain his punishing pace? Is he willing to sprint past the feeding stations in Beijing like he did in Seville? If there is a will, there is a way.

Stay tuned for a classic race in Beijing.

Copyright © 2008 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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