A personal message from James – June 2003

“Following my failure to qualify for the World Championships in Barcelona, I have taken the decision to retire from competition in the 200m Butterfly event and focus my attention on the 100m Butterfly event instead.

This is a decision that I have been thinking about since the Commonwealth Games in Manchester last year and with the Olympic Games in Athens just 12 months away, I feel this is the right time to devote my attention to one event rather than “sitting on the fence” which may have afftected my performance in both events in recent months.

In my opinion, the 200m event in Britain is in great shape and Stephen Parry represents a realistic medal prospect and I wish him well. It won’t be the same for me without those great battles we have had over the years !!

Naturally, I was disappointed, as Britain’s fastest 100m Butterfly swimmer, that I did have not the opportunity to compete at the World Championships but I still believe that the 100m event represents the best route forward for me at this stage in my career and I am confident that I can be a genuine contender over this distance in Athens.

It is still my intention, however, to compete at the 200m Butterfly in short course competition in which I have won four consecutive World titles and it would be very nice to make it five next year, if given that opportunity.

I have also taken the decision, following the retirement of my coach, Terry Denison, to return to Manchester where I will train for the Olympics next year and I will, therefore, no longer be swimming for City of Leeds. I have had five great years in Leeds and I have made lots of friends who have been very supportive. I am also indebted to Terry for everything he has done for me. It was a real priviledge to work with him.

Having said that, I am really looking forward to getting back to Manchester where I will be training at the excellent facilities offered by the Aquatics Centre and it will be nice to be near my family for a change. ”