Sunday, January 21, 2018

In-form Bovell gearing up for World Championships


FLASHBACK: George Bovell III in action during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Bovell is off to the FINA World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey from December 12-16, where he will compete in the 100metre Individual Medley and 50-metre freestyle events. —Photo: DEXTER PHILIP

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If ace Trinidad and Tobago swimmer George Bovell III has his way, something special could be right around the corner, with the FINA World Short Course Championships due to swim off on December 12-16 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Bovell left T&T yesterday evening for Turkey, where he will try to get a few days' rest and fine tune preparations for the meet.

The Olympic bronze medallist expects "stiff competition" at the Championships, with World class swimmers such as 50-metre freestyle world record holder Brazilian Cesar Cielo, 50m freestyle Olympic gold medallist Frenchman Florent Manaudou, Australian Kenneth To and Russian Sergei Fesikov likely to compete.

To edged Bovell out to win the eight-leg FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup 2012 that ended last month, and will be expected to be one of the main contenders in the 100m Individual Medley event.

The in-form Bovell wants to improve on his impressive performances throughout the World Cup series, and is hoping for some "rest and recovery" and "sharpening up" before he splashes into the pool in the 50m freestyle and 100m IM events.

"Some people say the best actual training for racing is racing itself, we'll see how true that is," Bovell told the Express on Monday. "I don't expect to be slow, but can I be faster so far than I have been this season? That's the real question."

The former Auburn University athlete explained that he has had a long season and says he is "very, very exhausted", and thinks getting some rest in the coming days is crucial to him climbing the podium in Turkey.

Brief illness set back his training regimen, Bovell also explained, which meant him needing some extra gym work to ensure he has the strength to compete.

"(Now) I'm doing a little bit of a taper, maintenance, endurance work in the pool, working on a few mistakes I have been making, sharpening up my (butterfly strokes)," Bovell revealed.

"All in all I expect to be at least as fast as I have been before if I can get enough rest, and it's a far trip to travel. Rest and recovery will make the difference to make me lighter, quicker, sharper, so to speak."

The 29-year-old sprinter described as a "challenge" carrying out his training regimen and competing largely on his own while being based at home. "It's not easy. It's a challenge I have to face to be based here in Trinidad," Bovell explained. "If it was easy, everybody would do it. But for me I'm actually feeling that my season has been quite long. Because from the time I got my health back after my accident (in August 2011), I've been going full speed into the Olympics right through, straight into the World Cup, and that in itself is eight competitions in under six weeks."

The T&T swimmer is also hoping to get the local fans behind him as he competes against some of the world's best swimmers.

"I hope they're can share in the excitement. Because each race is going to be three rounds, and it's the drama of sport; anything can happen. If it was a sure thing, they would've handed out to me a gold medal and a bronze medal, because I'm number one (100m IM) and number three (50m freestyle) in the world."

"We have a good chance to do something special, Trinidad and Tobago on the World stage again, so please stay tuned, I hope to do you all proud."

Bovell will be hoping get some needed rest and quality time with family once his season ends, as he is also set to wrap things up in Russia's International Vladimir Salnikov Cup Swimming Tournament in St Petersburg, which runs from December 21-22.