Lizzie Simmonds receives backing from outgoing coach
DEPARTING British Swimming coach Ben Titley has revealed how his duties to Lizzie Simmonds extended beyond the pool at London 2012 – and how she’ll be more than fine in his absence.
Simmonds was part of a British swimming team chastised for their performance at the Olympics where they failed to hit their medal target of five, climbing the podium just three times.
The 21-year-old had just one chance to make a contribution to Britain’s medal tally and she narrowly missed out on doing so after finishing fourth in the 200m backstroke.
And, while it was easy to label Simmonds a failure for not finishing on the podium, fourth in the 200m backstroke was indeed her best performance ever on the global stage.
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That didn’t stop the emotions flowing and Titley having to adopt a father figure role however he is adamant Simmonds will return a greater athlete for her London 2012 experience.
“Lizzie actually performed pretty well,” said Titley – who is leaving his post as head coach of the Loughborough ITC, where Simmonds trains, for the National Swim Centre Ontario in Canada.
“She went into the Olympics ranked seventh and ended up finishing fourth so I am sure she took a lot of encouragement from that.
“Fourth is not a nice place to finish and as a coach it is not a nice place to watch your athlete finish but you have to be the person that is there for them afterwards, it’s not all about preparation.
“Lizzie is a great athlete and has experienced great highs and also great lows and every athlete you ever speak to will have gone though the same.
“I am sure that she will have a lot of success in the future and will be back stronger for sure for what happened to her this summer.”
A four-man review into why British Swimming failed to hit their medal target at London 2012 is currently underway – but Titley insists Simmonds need not take much notice of it.
“I think that after every competition you do it is always important to review – whether you have done well or whether you haven’t because there are always things you’re going to learn,” he added.
“But Lizzie will be fine, she is an intelligent person and will hopefully – now the instant pain has gone – be able to see that she actually did very well.”
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