OLYMPICS REVIEW: Spofforth may target 2014 Commonwealths

GEMMA SPOFFORTH appeared to backtrack on her plans to retire after London 2012 hinting the prospect of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games could tempt her to stay on.

The 24-year-old had indicated that the 100m backstroke final, where she finished fifth, could have been her last individual race but after competing in the 4x100 medley relay Spofforth was singing a different tune.

And while the former world champion and record holder will definitely be taking some time away from the sport it may be a temporary, rather than permanent, hiatus.

She said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I came into this meet thinking that would be it but I think I will keep the door open and I might keep going. The Commonwealths are in Glasgow and that would be awesome.

“I am going to take a long break and revaluate things. I don’t think I will train the same way, maybe I will just focus on the sprint. I am definitely keeping the door open.

“Four years is a very long time. I will take some time out but I have not had a proper holiday in about four years so hopefully I will able to take this passion I have now.”

Unfortunately Spofforth, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Ellen Gandy and Fran Halsall were not able to bow out on a high in the medley relay.

Although Spofforth’s backstroke leg put them in fifth position, they fell away on the breaststroke and never recovered the ground - eventually finishing last in a time of 3.59.46min while the United States set a new world record in taking the gold.

That brought to an end a rather deflating week for Team GB in the pool which consisted of just two bronze and one silver but Spofforth is adamant the lack of medals disguises some great strides taking by a young team.

“It is so tough going out against the Americans when they go out that fast,” she added. “We obviously wanted to get a medal and we fell a long way short of that.

“But I think it goes to show how much British swimming has moved forward, especially in terms of reaching finals. We have got to a lot more finals in the past year or so. Hopefully next time we can change that into medals.

“I came to the Olympics for a medal and I came up short but as I have been saying the whole time this has been about the journey and not the destination that counts for me.”

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DANIEL SCHOFIELD