Swimmers involved in Olympic inquiry
Australia’s Olympic swimmers have been asked to take part in an inquiry into the country’s performance in London, as well as admitting they underestimated the pressure the Games would bring.
4x100m freestyle gold medallist Cate Campbell said Swimming Australia approached the team for consultations after delivering their lowest medal count in 20 years.
“They’re going to try to get as many athletes as possible so they can get a feel for what athletes want, what needs to be changed or kept the same,” she told reporters in Sydney.
Swimming Australia announced an inquiry last week, to be led by coach Bill Sweetenham and former swimmer Susie O’Neill, who has said current swimmers do not have the work ethic of generations past.
Three-time Olympics veteran Eamon Sullivan said the team was taken aback by the intensity of the London experience.
“As much as you think you’re ready for it, the difference between world championships and the Olympics is a hundred times more pressure,” he told media in Sydney.
“We under-prepared for the expectations of the pressure and the experience of the Olympics and, unfortunately, it’s a bad time to learn lessons.
“But for the next Olympics, if it’s the same team, it’ll be a different result.”
Suggestions have been made that Australia consider changing its training model to something similar to the USA’s, who hold their Olympic trials a month before the Games.
Australia’s trials are conducted three months before the Games, and Campbell thinks it works.
“I love having trials and then three months to improve on my performance,” she said.
“The only thing I’d add is more competitions between trials and the Games where you can have race practice, which you can’t replicate in training, though our coaches like to try.”
Sullivan says different training regimes work for different countries.
“It works for them. For us to make a decision like that just because we’ve had one bad performance – and it wasn’t bad, a lot of people swam personal bests – it’s just that others were a lot faster,” he said.
“I believe getting the trials out of the way early and having enough time to train is the best way for Australians; we’ve done it for years and it hasn’t been a problem.
“We just have to find a way to make our athletes make a bigger improvement on what we’ve already done.”
Emily Seebohm, who won one gold and two silver medals in London, said she didn’t think she could compete in trials and go to a major meet a month later as the Americans do.
“For me, this works – from my trials to the Olympics, I dropped a second off my time, which is more than I did (previously) so I don’t see why I would change that,” she said.
Sullivan, Seebohm and freestyler James Roberts haven’t yet been asked to be part of the inquiry but said they would be happy to contribute.
Roberts said the American system was more effective.
“Keeping the speed there and keeping the swimming going, it’s a lot easier to do that than jump in and have another block of training,” he said.© AAP 2013
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