Trinidad and Tobago Olympic swimmer described his FINA World Championships bronze as one of his most satisfying achievements, but insisted that he is still looking forward to swimming a truly “perfect race”.
Bovell returned to Trinidad yesterday to a welcome reception at Hyatt Regency Hotel on Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, organised in celebration of his bronze-medal finish in the 50m freestyle at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona.
Bovell reached the podium with a national record swim, touching the wall in 21.51 seconds.
The swimmer also won one gold (100 Individual Medley) and two bronze (50m freestyle and 100 Individual Medley) medals at the FINA World Cup Series events in Holland and Germany, and said he is looking forward to a little rest before he resumes training with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio in his sights.
Looking back at his swim in the Barcelona final, Bovell said “I think there were mistakes that I can fix. I think there are things that can definitely be improved upon.”
“I just knew in that field was Olympic 100-metre champions; the champion of the 50m freestyle; the previous Olympic champion. Everyone in that final had an Olympic medal. It was a collection of the best of the best and in swimming the 50m is like the 100m in track. It is the blue riband event that everyone tunes in for and if you are good in it, it carries a lot of respect around the world,” he explained.
“This medal here...I believed I had a chance...In sport there are some people that you might think are unbeatable, this medal here is proof that one man from Trinidad and Tobago could beat those people. I like to believe and I do believe that this is a tenth of what we can get in Rio if we do it right,” he said when he took to the podium yesterday.
About the race, the Olympic bronze medallist said he was happy to be the underdog, but believes it was his breakthrough race, and something he can build on.
“I was happy to be in lane eight. I like to be the underdog on the outside, and I was actually wrestling with a lot of my wants and fears because when you want something....when you want that medal, when you want that time, that place, that finish, you are afraid of not getting it and making mistakes.
“So the fears come with the wants, and I came to the realisation that those fears and wants, when they combine together, form that kind of desperation that can manifest in different ways.
“And as I understood more about myself I understood how it manifest itself and I was able to harness that energy and build into my race and keep nailing detail after detail.
“The 50 (freestyle) is such a funny race. It is the only event in sport that you want to get as excited as possible, but you want to be able to be relaxed and do things right and hold your breath that whole time. It is a fine line, but I worked on it and for me it was a breakthrough in the way I approached the race,” he said.
He also took the opportunity to thank the T&T public and his coach, Minister of Sport Anil Roberts, for their support.
“I want to express just how much gratitude I have towards the people of Trinidad and Tobago, and what an honour to me it represent the country at the highest level in the sport.
“It is functions like this and little tokens and speeches that serves to remind me how much it means to people. It is not just me out there and I want to take this opportunity to thank my coach for his continued help and his empowerment. He has coached me to coach myself,” the swimmer said.
Roberts also congratulated Bovell on his achievements, and insisted the swimmer still has a lot more to do in the sport before he calls it a day.
Roberts also hinted at rewards for Bovell, as well as 400m hurdles world champion Jehue Gordon and his coach Dr Ian Hypolite.
He said all three are the subject of a cabinet note to be discussed tomorrow, and once the note is approved, he will divulge what is in it.