Spofforth could quit swimming

Gemma Spofforth has endured a tough 2011
Gemma Spofforth has endured a tough 2011
Kate Steels-Fryatt in action  Picture: Terry Scott

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Gemma SpoffoRth admits she is weighing up whether to quit swimming.

Portsmouth Northsea’s former world champion revealed she almost bowed out of the sport before her 50m backstroke race at the World Championships in Shanghai yesterday.

And while Spofforth – considered one of Britain’s best hopes for a gold medal at next year’s London Olympics – is determined to keep going, the 23-year-old conceded her poor form in 2011 could still convince her to call it quits.

Spofforth said: ‘Next year is the one at home and I’m only going to do it if I really want to do it.

‘If I have one inkling in the next few weeks then I will quit but right now it is 100-per-cent commitment.

‘I’ve talked to my coach about it a couple of times and I told him a few things I need from him to get back in.

‘He said that if I go to him and say “I’m not sure whether I want to swim”, then that’s it, I’m done.

‘You can only really do the sport if you’re 100-per-cent invested and this year hasn’t been 100 per cent at all for me.’

Spofforth captured world 100m backstroke gold in 2009 – setting a new world record in the process – and added the European title a year later in Budapest.

The former Portsmouth High School pupil was out of sorts at the Commonwealth Games last October, though, and failed to find top gear at the British Championships in Manchester.

She then lost her world 100m backstroke crown this week but did progress to the 50m backstroke semi-finals yesterday after clocking 28.74sec.

n British Gas is supporting the British Gas GBR Swimming Team as part of its partnership with the sport at all levels. For more information, visit britishgas.co.uk/swimming