Australian swimmer Mack Horton says he still would have staged his anti-doping protest at the world titles in South Korea if he had known about teammate Shayna Jack’s positive test.
Sally Foster loves swimming so much the past 12 months have been really hard for her. Not in the pool. Her results this year have been career bes.
And, like a good bottle of wine from the hills near the city she now calls home, she’s only getting better with age.
No, the difficulty has come from watching her sport making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
“I had an amazing experience in London and I haven’t let things affect me,” Foster told me in the lead-up to the FINA World Championships.
“It is hard when you see the sport you have so much passion for being perceived so negatively, but you have to move on, and that’s what we are doing as a team – moving into a performance culture and strengthening our team bond.”
As a senior member of the team, 28-year-old Foster is acutely aware of her leadership responsibilities. And she’s definitely not shirking the role.
“I was elected by my team mates as a member of the athlete leadership group and I am always happy to help and lead by example,” she said.
“It is a new journey for the team and I am excited to be a part of it.”
It’s also a new journey for Foster. Since London she’s moved to Adelaide, got herself a new coach, and moved in with her fiancé. The results speak for themselves.
At the Australian swimming championships her breaststroke times were her fastest ever. And in Barcelona she finished seventh in the 200 metres final.
Change of environment is one thing. Her other secret, and this is going to shock a lot of people, is she thinks she might one day actually miss not having to train!
“Yes I can definitely say that sometimes I do get sick of the training, but I’m also addicted to it. I guess, it has always been such a huge part of my life,” she laughed.
“Since London I have made a fresh start and I think that is what is driving me now. My move to Adelaide with a new coach in Peter Bishop and being able to live with my fiancé, all factor in to my drive and passion for the sport.
“I’m in a new environment after many years at the AIS and I am now just trying to enjoy every moment and every opportunity I get from my sport, and see how much I can get out of swimming by really working hard but enjoying myself.
“I don’t know how much longer I am going to have in the sport so enjoying every moment and seeing what I can get out of myself every time I get to race (drives me).”
Foster admits she did toy with the idea of retirement after London, but the moment she slipped her cossies back on she knew she’d made the right call.
“It feels awesome! Being a part of the Australian swim team is what keeps me motivated to train and push myself every day so I can continue to be a part of the team,” she said.
“I love coming back every year making new friends, connecting with old friends and being part of a group that has the same passion for a sport that I do. They are like my extended family.
“There have been many changes in our sport but that’s sport and life, it’s never going to be the same way forever. The pride I have in being part of this team hasn’t changed.”
What Sally Foster would like to see, along with the rest of the swim team, is Australia’s love affair with the sport rekindled.
Television coverage of the national championships this year were shown on delay, and there’s been no TV coverage at all from Barcelona.
It’s been a big fall from grace for a sport that once commanded prime time coverage, and Foster is perplexed as to the reason.
“Honestly I don’t know I would love for people to be able to watch our swimming live on TV, but really I think that is more a question for the networks not me,” she said.
Australian sport fans are missing a lot, including the passion and desire of Sally Foster.
A former vocational dux of her school, and the 2013 Western Australia Swimmer of the year, don’t be surprised to see this very determined breaststroker part of Rio 2016.