| ADELAIDE, March 14
ADELAIDE, March 14 Libby Trickett's
infamous attacks of nerves at the Olympics have included feeling
like vomiting on the morning of her gold medal-winning swim in
Beijing, but the 27-year-old now feels a liberating calm as she
contemplates qualifying for a third Games at London.
The triple Olympic gold medallist heads into Australia's
national trials this week in Adelaide as one of a clutch of
former champions desperate for last one tilt at the Games after
cutting short their careers to focus on life outside the pool.
Despite not setting the world on fire with her times since
coming back in 2010, Trickett feels quietly confident on the eve
of the 100 metres butterfly preliminaries where she will battle
world silver medallist Alicia Coutts and former world champion
Jessica Schipper for one of two Olympic berths.
"I feel, to be very clichéd, almost successful now just to
be here," Trickett, who won the 100 butterfly gold at Beijing to
capture a long-awaited individual title, told reporters at the
South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre in Adelaide on
"It's so rewarding the journey that I've been on. The fact
that I am as lean as I was in 2008, I'm stronger than I was in
2008 I think I have the potential to be as fast as I was.
"That's pretty rewarding in itself coming from where I
started. Obviously the next goal for me is to make the Olympic
Trickett needs to finish in the top two of the butterfly
final to guarantee a spot for London, but has a better chance in
the 100 freestyle, where a top six performance will at least
ensure consideration for the relay team.
Trickett retired at the end of 2009 at the age of 24, citing
fatigue with the grinding, individual sport, but was lured back
to the pool nine months later.
Her comeback road has not always been smooth and she was
crushed with disappointment after failing to make Australia's
ultra-competitive team for the world championships in Shanghai.
The eight-times world champion was nonetheless buoyed by a
solid swim last month at state championships, where she posted a
time of 54.87 seconds in the 100 freestyle, almost a second
better than her post-retirement best.
Yet to reach her peak form, Trickett said the break had
nonetheless made her a better swimmer.
"I think if I had have kept swimming (after 2009), I would
have had a real bitterness and I think I probably would have
regretted that more," she said.
"I went through so many things personally, emotionally and
mentally during that time off that I know that I'm better for it
now and I think I'm a better athlete because of that."
Despite dominating her events for more than five years,
Trickett has rarely exuded bullet-proof confidence, and opted
for caution after colossal disappointments at her first Olympics
at Athens in 2004.
In the lead-up to the Games she broke Inge de Bruijn's 100
freestyle world record during the semi-finals of the Australian
trials and despite being upset by compatriot Jodie Henry in the
final she was seen as a favourite for the title for the
blue-riband event at Athens.
At the Games, however, nerves got the better of her and she
failed to make the final, which Henry won, though she was a
member of the gold-medal winning 4x100 freestyle relay team.
Trickett has stopped short of calling the Australian trials
her last stand, but said the call of motherhood was becoming
hard to resist and might trump her desire to re-assert her rule
over the pool.
"I would like to swim on until at least the end of this
year, potentially do the World Cup tour and also the world
short-course championships, that's my dream at the moment," said
"I can see myself still swimming because I'm really enjoying
the sport, I'm very passionate.
"I have a real love of what I'm doing right now but at the
same time I've got this biological clock that's ticking, so I
would really like to start a family as well.
"Whether I can balance the two or have to decide one or the
other way, I'm not sure what will happen."
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
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