October 24 - Zhang Lin (pictured), who last year came within inches of becoming the first Chinese male swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal, has vowed to make history at the London 2012 Games.


Zhang claimed the silver medal in the 400 metres freestyle at the Beijing Games, missing out on the gold by just 0.58sec to South Korea's Park Taehwan.


It is a defeat that clearly still rankles.


Zhang said: "Currently the overwhelming target for me is to win at the London Olympics.


"I hope to make up for my sorrow savoured at last year's Beijing Games with hard efforts over these years.


"I won't let another 0.58 seconds to crush my Olympic dream any more."


Zhang, a 22-year-old from the Chinese capital, won the gold medal in the 800m freestyle at the World Championships in Rome in July but that is not an Olympic discipline.


He also claimed the bronze in the 400m freestyle in Rome.


Zhang hopes to use the experience of Beijing and Rome to push him towards success at London in less than three years.


He said: "I got maturer after the Olympics, and now I always study and sum up useful experience with my coach in daily training to prepare for the Olympics."


Zhang took more than six seconds off the world record when he won the 800m in Rome, clocking 7min 32.12sec.


It made him first male Chinese swimmer to set a world record for 49 years.


The historic victory prompted Chinese media to dub him the "Liu Xiang of the pool" - in recognition of the athlete who at Athens in 2004 had become the first Chinese man to win an Olympic gold medal on the track with victory in the 110m hurdles.


Zhang said: "Swimming seems to take less limelight from the Chinese public as compared with track and field.


"However, I will spare no effort to fulfill the dream of the Chinese and the target of Chinese swimming."