Lara eyes team berth
By Tania Phillips
KINGSCLIFF'S latest swimming sensation Lara Davenport is confident that a unique training regime can seal her a place on the ultra-competitive women's 4x200m relay team at the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne.
With sprint stars Jodie Henry and Libby Lenton expected to lead the Australian assault, Davenport is locked in a battle with rivals for the final two relay spots.
The 24-year-old finished fourth in the 200m final at the trials in Brisbane in December but since then has been training alongside her male club-mates in a bid to improve her times.
"I am lucky that the times that I need to swim for freestyle and the ones the guys need for their backstroke events are very similar," she said.
"We are fairly competitive at training.
"We probably take it in turns to swim the fastest."
Australia's female swimmers have forged a formidable reputation in the relay events and Davenport, who will not race until March 29, is determined to make the team.
"It is a really exciting team to be part of," she said. "There are six of us and we are all up there.
"We have to got out their and race our own race and see what happens. You have got to swim your best to be in the final team."
Davenport, who abandoned Sydney in June last year to link with Kingscliff-based coach Greg Salter, will be joined by club-mate Tayliah Zimmer at the championships.
Zimmer will compete in the backstroke events while Hayden Stockel, who is making his world championship debut, will fly the flag for the Tweed in the men's backstroke events.
Salter said the trio were in good form and poised for a strong showing at the championships.
Davenport, who Salter dubbed the 'warrior princess' after her impressive performances at the NSW titles earlier in the year, has emerged as a genuine star since joining Salter's squad.
She promised much as a youngster but was unable to cement her place on the international stage.
Since moving north she has cemented her she has found renewed drive and determination.
"I just needed a change ... renewed motivation," she said.
Davenport will be looking to improve upon her effort at the 2005 world championships in Montreal when she won silver in the 4x200m relay after swimming in the qualifying heats.
In 2006 she won gold and silver as a heat swimmer in relays at World Short Course Championships.