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Steffen Out Of GBR Vs GER Duel

Feb 15, 2010  - Craig Lord

Britta Steffen, the double Olympic and world champion, has withdrawn from the GBR Vs GER long-course duel in the pool this weekend in Swansea. Recent illness at the end of a troubled winter season has been cited.

Steffen headed to Australia in the autumn but plane to train with Cate Campbell, the Aussie sprinter, did not materialise and the German took a break instead. When she returned home, Steffen cancelled her short-course season, missing the European s/c championships and the USA Vs a European Select in the process. 

The week before last, Steffen withdrew from her own home club meet in Berlin after a bout of 'flu. She was then announced as being among those selected to face Britain in Swansea, where she would have faced world 100m silver medallist Fran Halsall, of Liverpool and Loughborough. That clash will now have to wait until later in the year.

The duel, despite Steffen's withdrawal, boasts a top-flight entry. German's other big hitter, Paul Biedermann, is heading to Britain, however. No Michael Phelps clash just yet, but the world 200m and 400m champ will face a Commonwealth champion, in the form of Ross Davenport, who said: "I am really excited to swim against one of the world’s best swimmers. You always want to compete against the best competition possible and this meet is giving me that opportunity. I obviously want to beat Paul but I am going to be interested to see how I fare. 

"It is the first time that I will be competing in a team event in this format and I'm really excited to be part of the team and it’ll be good to be fighting for points for the team. It is great to have such a high quality German team to compete against. They have sent the best that they possible could and I think it will be interesting to see how the Brits do. A good result this weekend will give me confidence for the rest of the season but it is still early in the season. I think that it will be good to see how we compare to the German team at this point before Europeans later in the year.”

British Swimming Head Coach Dennis Pursley added: “The British athletes will be coming to the end of an intensive training period before the British Gas Swimming Championships in March, while the German athletes are just returning after their winter break and so are building back into their training period. This is going to be a great opportunity to see who has the mental toughness to get up and race despite the challenges of heavy training.

“As Head Coach it is great to see where our athletes are in terms of their individual training plans. I will have different expectations from each of the athletes but I look forward to seeing where they are and if we need to make changes to their plans before the rest of the season begins.”