Sharks, jellyfish, dead dogs fail to faze Keri-Anne Payne

Updated: 26 July 2012 11:56 IST

Having previously encountered dead dogs, jellyfish and sharks, Britain's world 10km open-water champion Keri-Anne Payne has said London's Serpentine lake will be a walk in Hyde Park by comparison.

Sharks, jellyfish, dead dogs fail to faze Keri-Anne Payne
©

London:

Having previously encountered dead dogs, jellyfish and sharks, Britain's world 10km open-water champion Keri-Anne Payne has said London's Serpentine lake will be a walk in Hyde Park by comparison.

Olympics 2012 | Schedule | India at Olympics | Medals Tally

Having won 10km swim silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, the 24-year-old has encountered plenty of creatures and hazards during her many races and insists the Serpentine's ducks and reeds will present no problems at these Olympics.

"I have been through a couple of interesting open-water swims," she admitted.

"One was in Melbourne at St Kilda in 2007, it was only my second open-water race and there were thousands and thousands of jellyfish in the water, all the size of dinner plates.

"That was pretty difficult, it took a lot of mental strength to even get in the water.

"In Hong Kong, we swam in a beautiful location, but went past some big buoys and when I asked what they were, I was told they were for the shark nets and we were on the wrong side of them.

"I swam in the middle of the pack for that one.

"There was another race in China, it has been reported there was a dead horse in the river, but that's not true; it was a dead dog and we swam past it."

In contrast, swimming the six laps of the Hyde Park's Serpentine lake on August 9 will be a piece of cake, albeit somewhat cold.

"I've just come from there. I'm trying to get used to swimming in colder water," she admitted.

"In Shanghai (at the 2011 world championships) the water was 30 degrees and in the Serpentine on Friday it will be 18 degrees.

"So I'm trying to get used to and prepare myself for that. I'm the first athlete to swim in the Serpentine, which I think is really cool.

"I had to fight with a couple of ducks, though, to get around a couple of the buoys, but apart from that it was really good.

"The only thing that was quite amusing was swimming through all the reeds this morning and I got a bit tangled in them, but I've overcome that now."

Payne has won the last two world titles and is favourite to win the 10km title in London, but is refusing to rest on her laurels.

"I'm obviously immensely proud of what I've achieved so far, but the Olympics is about concentrating on doing the best that I can, I'm not going to run around screaming," she said.

"There's any number of girls in the open water race that have the opportunity to win a medal."

Open-water swimming has a deserved reputation as a rough-and-tumble discipline as rivals battle it out in the choppy waters with races taking around two hours to finish.

"It has its elements of being competitive," admitted Payne.

"You can imagine that there are 25 girls all standing on the pontoon and you're all trying to get to the same place so there's always going to be a little bit of friction.

"Nine times out of 10 it is an accident if someone hits you when they swim past and we have the same system as in football, there is a referee who can issue yellow cards, two of them and you get a red."

Topics : Swimming Olympics 2012
Related Articles
Paralympic Swimmer Binod Singh Found Dead
Paralympic Swimmer Binod Singh Found Dead
Retired Michael Phelps Removes Name From Drug Testing System
Retired Michael Phelps Removes Name From Drug Testing System
Michael Phelps Secretly Took Plunge in June, Marrying Girlfriend
Michael Phelps Secretly Took Plunge in June, Marrying Girlfriend
Show Comments
Advertisement