November 25 - England's world 50 metres backstroke champion Liam Tancock is making the Commonwealth Games his main target next season.
The 24-year-old from Exeter, who will be part of Europe’s team to face the United States in next month's British Gas Duel in the Pool at Manchester, insisted that racing in New Delhi would take precedence over the European Championships.

"My main competition is going to be the Commonwealth Games," he said.
"That would be my main aim. I will be using the European Championships as a stepping stone towards them."

"I am proud to be an Englishman. And we do like to split up and race each other in the Home nations."

Tancock will join 12 other Brits including double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington and fellow world record holders Gemma Spofforth and Joanne Jackson alongside German and Italian swimmers at Manchester from December 18-19.
And he believes the presence of huge US stars such as Michael Phelps will boost the profile of a sport that is already increasing in popularity in Britain.

"That's something I'd like to see," he said.

"We have seen Michael Phelps do great things for our sport, making the media a lot more interested in it, and this event gives us a chance to do the same sort of thing.”

“We have got the Olympics in London in three years' time, and because we are doing so well and the nation really wants to see an event like this.”

"When you look at the massive names we have coming over to race in Britain – Michael Phelps, Aaron Peirsol, Ryan Lochte and Katie Hoff – we've got to be doing something right.”

"If we can make household names and make swimming a bit more showcase, more enjoyable, so much the better."

At what will be one of the last big events to take place before the ruling takes effect on January 1 banning the wearing of controversial "fast" swimsuits which many in the sport have seen as giving unfair advantage, Tancock says he will be wearing Speedo’s 2010 LZR swimsuit, and he doesn’t mind what anyone else is wearing.
"I really don’t care," he said.

"I'm not going to look across and see someone wearing this superfast suit and think 'Oh no! They're going to beat me!’” Tancock, nevertheless, welcomes the new ruling.

"I'm looking forward to next year," he said.

"This year's been a bit different, with technology, and rulings, and stuff that's out of our control.” "Next year we are all in a similar situation, so bring it on."

Tancock is looking forward to being part of a team with swimmers who are normally his competitors.

"At events like the Olympics and World Championships you are normally too keyed up and focused to speak much to each other," he said. "I hope this will be different. "It will be a lot more fun.” "It's a fantastic experience for us to be team-mates with some of our rivals and to race against one of the top swimming nations in the world.”

"Aaron Peirsol has been at the top of his game in backstroke for a number of years, as has Ryan Lochte, they are my biggest rivals."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]