Most people probably best remember Adam Ruckwood for his win in the 200m backstroke at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria. Whilst that achievement is undoubtedly Adam’s finest moment in international swimming, it’s easy to forget that he’s been a regular on the British national team for over 10 years and has picked up medals at European championships as recently as 1999. But he’s not finished there, having also recently diversified into freestyle, he’s back on the England team and raring to go for the forthcoming Manchester games. Pullbuoy dragged Adam away from his breakfast to find out what keeps him coming back for more.
You’re one of the more senior members of the team this time round, do you see experience as being important?
This is my 3rd commonwealths, I’ve done 3 Olympics and ‘x’ number of Worlds and Europeans, so I am one of the oldest members of the team, but maybe I can put that to my advantage. Experience is important definitely, I mean I was lucky enough to win Commonwealth gold in 94 so I have had a lot of experience; my first ever senior team trip was in 1991, so I’ve been going a long time, and maybe I can help the younger team members out as well
You’ve been on the national team for over 10 years so what is it keeps you going?
I just love swimming, it sounds almost perverse, but I just love the feel of the water around my body! It’s very strange! I always thought I’d call it a day after Sydney, but with the Commonwealth games in Manchester, a home games, I just thought that they would be great. Whether this is my last swim we’ll I don’t know have to wait and see, but I’m looking forward to it.
You’ve been swimming a lot of freestyle recently, has that been a deliberate change of tack?
It was purely by chance, it was at the short course nationals in December 2000, just after the Olympics, I wasn’t in any sort of shape and had nothing to do on the Friday, so I just dived in and did 100 freestyle and went really well and got silver. So I thought this might be worth doing. I’d decided to change event anyway, I’d moved away for 200 back and come down to 100 back, so I didn’t have to change my training too much to incorporate the 100 free as well. I only had to get in the top 4 at the trials to get a relay spot and I managed third, so if I can get a really medal at the games as well that would be great.
Having been selected for the team, do you think you might get an individual swim in the freestyle?
Even if they offered it to me I wouldn’t do it. I think that the 100 free and back overlap with the final of the 100 free on the same day as the heats and semis of the 100 back. I really suffered the next day with the 100 back final at the trials and it wasn’t as good as it should have been. So even if I’m offered it I won’t swim, but I definitely want to swim the relay
What do you make of Ian Thorpe swimming backstroke?
I read quite a while ago that he wanted to win 7 gold medals, and I’d worked out that there were 3 relays and 3 freestyle events which made 6 so it was just a case of whether he swam 100 back or 200 fly or whatever and I was just unfortunate that he picked the 100 back, but his times haven’t been revolutionary so maybe we can get in amongst it and beat him
Thorpe or no Thorpe, do you think that Matt Welsh is still the man to beat?
Without being defeatist, I can’t see anyone beating Matt Welsh. If he swims anywhere near his best no one’s going to touch him.
What about Martin Harris? You must have thought you had seen the last of your old adversary!
I thought I was shot of him! It’s great to see him back – the two of us duelled for 10 years really, then Neil Willey came on the scene for a while but he’s not now swimming, so it’s good to see Martin back. A lot of people were writing him off saying “he won’t do anything after 2 years off” but I said you can never write him off, he’ll swim well, which he did and he made the team, so the best of luck to him
Finally what’s your favourite backstroke drill?
Single arm backstroke.
Interesting, Sarah Price prefers double arm…
No, definitely single arm!