Swimmer confirms cycling switch
TRIPLE Paralympian Jody Cundy has swapped the pool for the cycling track as he calls it a day on his international swimming career. The 27-year-old from Walpole St Andrew, who now lives and trains in Swansea, has enjoyed 12 years at the top of his sport,
TRIPLE Paralympian Jody Cundy has swapped the pool for the cycling track as he calls it a day on his international swimming career.
The 27-year-old from Walpole St Andrew, who now lives and trains in Swansea, has enjoyed 12 years at the top of his sport, winning five Paralympic medals, three of them gold, and six World Championship medals since 1994.
Cundy, who has combined training for both sports over the last year, made a massive impact in the velodrome when he set a new world record and won gold in the team sprint event at the Visa Paralympic World Cup, in Manchester, in May.
"The move to cycling gives me a new challenge in sport," he explained. "I think I've pretty much reached the top of my game in the pool and with the S10 class as competitive as it is, it would take a best swim to make the top three.
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"I'm on the British Cycling programme now and I'm really enjoying it. My first competition was the British Nationals last October where I broke a British record without training, and this year I really enjoyed being part of the squad for the Paralympic World Cup."
He added: "Up until five weeks ago, I was only training for two hours a week as swimming was my main focus, but now I'm doing up to 16 hours a week on a bike - it's like being a junior again and I'm setting massive personal bests on a regular basis which is really motivating."
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The challenge of a new sport, the potential of becoming the best in his class and the possibility of competing in Beijing in just two years time was enough to encourage Cundy to make the move.
"I knew that if I wanted to compete as a cyclist in Beijing I would have to make the move sooner rather than later, and when British Cycling invited me to a camp and discussed my options I knew now was the right time," he said.
"It will be hard not to miss the pool as I've dedicated over 16 years of my life to swimming, and my girlfriend Liz [Johnson] is a swimmer on the British team. I plan to continue swimming on a regular basis and I haven't ruled out competing at regional meets and the national short-course championships in the future."
"My focus now is on the cycling and my short-term target is to get faster over 1km," he added. "My personal best is 1:14, but the world record is 1:10 and I'd like to be challenging for that by the end of this year and reduce it again on the run-up to Beijing.