The world's leading swimming journalist Craig Lord wrote today that David Davies, the silver medalist in the Beijing Olympic 10K Marathon Swim will not swim any open water races at the upcoming World Swimming Championships in Rome.
Craig broke the story that David will focus on improving his 400-meter pace this summer in order to become more competitive in the 1500-meter freestyle - and a decision on open water swimming can be made later.
This certainly changes the strategy of Rome's 10K race because David singlehandedly influenced the pace and made everyone adapt to his strategy at both the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Championships in Sevilla, Spain and the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Beijing, the only two major open water swims of his promising young open water swimming career.
We believe his absence in the Rome 10K may lead to an even more tactical race because the pace will undoubtedly be slower and more strategic positioning will be necessary especially given the shape of the open water venues in Rome.
Because the 10K race in Rome is five days before the 400-meter freestyle and ten days before the 1,500-meter freestyle, David said: "It wasn't an easy or quick decision to make. It was my decision alone after speaking with Kevin and Mark Perry [performance head of Britain's open water program]. I've changed a lot of things this year, the aim being to get quicker and sronger.
I wanted to check my progress on that but if I do a 10K a week before the pool in Rome, it won't be a proper check, a true test."
As Craig reported, David's coach Kevin Renshaw explained, "Really, open water this year is just to gain experience. We revisited the plan and while Rome was on the list, we feel that he's got enough FINA world cup races after the world champiopnships. We're really excited about the progress he's made on speed and power, and that's been the priority."
David has competed in an earlier FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup in Santos, Brazil in January where he finished out of the money (literally as he placed 27th out of 31 swimmers), but time is still very much on his side, "I'm still ticking the boxes on learning the ropes in open water, and ticking boxes on improving my speed and strength.
The big decision will be taken after the Commonwealth Games when it comes down to what to go for in London 2012."
With Olympic 1500-meter gold medalist Oussama Mellouli and Korean Olympic 400-meter gold medalist Park Tae Hwan training hard together at USC under the watchful helm of renowned coach Dave Salo, there will be great races in the 400-meter and 1500-meter freestyles in Rome.
But, it is our expectation that David will get back into open water swimming soon enough and will aggressively take his customary role in the front of the pack, pushing the pace and challenging all those behind him to keep up.