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NEWS FEATURE British swimmers target golden Rio after 2012 disappointment By Derek Wilson, dpa

Europe
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After winning only three pool medals in 2012, the British swimming team is determined to bounce back with a stronger performance at the Rio Olympics.

Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - British swimming is aiming to bounce back with a golden Rio Games after suffering massive disappointment in the pool at the home London Olympics four years ago.

"It‘s a more focused team, we had 40-something athletes in London, 26 are here [this time] so these guys have come through a pretty stringent selection policy," head coach Bill Furniss said at a news conference Wednesday. "[It was] probably one of the hardest in the world.

"The team competes a lot more now and I think they‘re race-ready."

Amid the British glory of London 2012, which produced a modern best 29 golds and 65 overall medals, the swimming team was left on the outside looking in. The pool produced a meagre haul of only one silver and two bronze.

Led by 100-metre breaststroke world record holder Adam Peaty, the British group in Rio is expected to launch a stronger challenge for honours after finishing fourth in the medal table at the 2015 Kazan worlds with a 5-1-3 record.

Furniss, however, refused to be drawn into setting targets.

"We don‘t discuss it with athletes, we don‘t discuss it with staff," he said. "We talk about swimming the best performance of the season, the best performance of your life, when it counts.

"It‘s pointless talking about an outcome, we want to talk about process and see what that delivers."

Along with Peaty, who won the 50m and 100m breaststroke in Kazan, his Rio flatmate James Guy is a strong contender as 200m freestyle world champion, even if he is not taking a continuation of his success for granted.

"Obviously it is a nice title to hold, last year now is done, it‘s in the past but it always remains in my heart as something I‘ve done," Guy said. "I‘m getting pretty excited now, it‘s getting closer and closer and soon it‘s game-time.

"But I don‘t feel the pressure at all, I‘m here to work hard, race and have fun."

Keeping the pressure off and having fun when possible is key to staying calm when not training or racing and living in close quarters with teammates.

Hannah Miley, who will swim in the 200m and 400m medleys, revealed that films, books and cards were popular past-times, but also that a team quiz-night had been held - quickly dismissed as "rigged," by Guy, suggesting his talent lies in the pool.

Miley, who has a string of minor medals but only one silver from the world championships and nothing from the Olympics, also said she was not under more pressure than usual.

"I feel every time I swim I always have a point to prove," she said. "You always want to be the best you can be.

"I‘m going into this competition a lot more relaxed with how things are going for me in training, how things have gone in racing.

"What happened in London, in worlds, all the competitions in between are experiences and opportunities I‘ve had, I‘ve learned from them and they‘ve put me in a better position each time."

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