Legendary Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser is never afraid to let people know what she thinks and after a period of turmoil the multiple Olympic gold medalist is optimistic about the Australian team’s chances heading into the Commonwealth Games.
In an interview with The Star Fraser spoke of how impressed she was by the performances of Cate Campbell expressing her confidence that she will lead a resurgence of Australian Swimming at the Commonwealth Games this summer, “I think she is going to be impressive this year,” said Fraser.
“She’s been swimming very fast, very well and she’s been training very hard, and hasn’t had any injuries. She’s swimming in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (July), so I think the Games will prove that Australia’s coming back to the fore.”
Campbell won both the 50 and 100 freestyle at the Australian Championships in times that put her on top of the world rankings.
Fraser also explained one of the reasons the Aussies should have high expectations is that swimming is built into their culture, “We’re an island surrounded by water so almost all our children learn to swim, so there’s always been a very strong, natural love for the water. Because we’re such a big island, it doesn’t matter where you go, there’s water … so it’s a necessity (to be able to swim),” says Fraser.
Before the Australian National Championships Fraser expressed her expectations of the team and new Australian National Team Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren, “He’s got a big job ahead of him,” said Fraser.
“Whether he is as successful as some of our Australian coaches or what he brings into the country, I don’t know.”
“But if he’s being paid the money that I’ve heard he’s being paid, he’s going to have to do a bloody good job. Otherwise his contract will be torn up and told `see you later’.”
“I think they’ll give him until the world championships to see what the improvement is.”
“But from all accounts, there is an improvement and that’s all I can go by.”
In the article she also shared her top three tips for young swimmers:
Get a stepladder
“Set aside specific targets you’d like to achieve and stay on them. Don’t lose focus. My coach (Harry) Gallagher taught me to always plan my swims a week out. So when I came into my race, I knew exactly how I was going to swim. And I’ve got nerves of course, but I set my plan and swam with it.”
Don’t rush, it will all fall into place
“Things like dealing with nerves and pressure and being in a boisterous environment of a cheering crowd, you can learn how to take it in. Mental strength also comes much later. It doesn’t come straight away. It’s something that you teach yourself gradually.”
“I find that having a quick nap before a race helps. We call them nanny naps (laughs). It sets you on the right path, almost like getting everything in order. I think that’s what keeps you healthy.”