Spofforth targets another mountain to climb

LONDON Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:51pm EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's 100 meter backstroke world record holder Gemma Spofforth has set herself a new mountain to climb after failing to win a medal in the discipline at the London Olympics.

The Florida-based swimmer, fifth in Monday's final, told reporters she wanted to reach the summit of Mount Everest in the next five years.

"I think I can combine both, I think it crosses over and if you are fit out of the water you are going to be fit in the water and I don't think I am going to lose that," she told reporters.

She said she had started climbing this year, had fallen in love with the sport and had others who wanted to climb the mountain with her.

"It will cost about $60,000 so there's a lot I need to save," she said.

"It will probably take about five years to get ready for it and I've got to do a few climbs before it and a course to get ready for it as well.

"So at least five years, maybe six."

The former world champion said London had been a really happy experience for her, unlike Beijing four years ago when she finished an agonizing fourth.

Her mother had died in the year before Beijing and her father's partner died a year ago.

"This has been a less emotional journey," she said.

"I think I've got rid of some of those raw emotions from the death of my mum and become a lot healthier out of the water so it didn't really transfer as easily into the water.

"Maybe if I'd had those raw emotions I might have been able to pull something out but its been amazing...its just been a really happy experience for me."

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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