World number one ready to prove worth in Russia

23 Jul

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By Suzie Ryan, Bond University Journalism Student

World number one 200-metre freestyle Thomas Fraser-Holmes will be looking for redemption at the Swimming World Championships in Russia later this month after failing to qualify for his signature event at the Australian Nationals in April.

Dubbed Australian swimming’s newest star, Fraser-Holmes fell short of the mark and did not qualify for the men’s 200-metre freestyle race, where he is ranked world number one.

Instead, the 23-year-old Gold Coaster only secured a spot in the 200- and 400-metre individual medley and the 4×200-metre freestyle relay.

Fraser -Holmes is still coming to terms with what went wrong at the National Championships, where he was tipped to win gold in the individual 200-metre event after twin victories at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs titles last year.

“It’s one of those frustrating things; because I had been training really well leading into the event,” he said.

“Maybe the pressure got to me a bit on the day being world number one last year and then coming back this year with that expectation.

“It is obviously always disappointing for me when I don’t swim well, but as hard as it is to swallow, I’ve got to accept the fact that I’m not swimming the 200 event at worlds.”

But Fraser- Holmes has found the sliver lining among his disappointment, using his loss as an important lesson moving forward.

“I think everything happens for a reason,” he said.

“It’s a big lesson learned for me, frustrating, but I am glad it happened.

“I suppose this is the year to mess up a little bit and get those things in check you don’t want happening in an Olympic year.

“I will do everything I can to make sure that it doesn’t happen next year.”

 

 

It is not all disappointment for Fraser-Holmes, who still has the opportunity to don the green and gold cap in Kazan in the individual medley and relay events.

“Now I have the perfect opportunity to swim my individual medley events and that is something that I haven’t done in a very long time so I am looking forward to that aspect as well,” he said.

“We’ve also got a really good 4×200 metre team, so that’s looking really positive going into worlds.”

Fraser-Holmes’ coach Denis Cotterell will be watching poolside while his protégé shows the world how far he has come since April and that he is a forced to be reckoned with leading into Rio.

“Tommy is looking really good going into worlds and his individual medley has really improved since April,” Cotterell said.

“We have worked really hard to get over April’s disappointment but I think it still has some impact on him so I’m hoping he can get up and give a good fight in the pool, hopefully with some personal bests.

“We are really just using this meet as a stepping stone for Rio.”

As well as rebuilding his own performance in the pool, Fraser-Holmes will also play a part in the restructure of the Australian swim squad as a member of the leadership team.

“At the moment with the team we want to make a cultural restructure and start from ground zero,” he said.

“I think in the last three years since London we have come a very long way and we were a very young team there.

“At the end of the day we want the Australian team to be the best swim team in the world and I want to be an integral part of it.”

To do that Fraser-Holmes accepts that as much as he must be focused in the pool, his journey back to world number one also relies on him enjoying the process.

“For me the biggest healer is to get back in and swim,” he said.

“That is what I was born to do.

“I was born to be in the water and have fun.”

 

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