James Roberts – Set to return to the pool
Possessing a lifetime Personal Best in the 100m Freestyle that would have won the 2015 World Championships, James Roberts says there is still a burning motivation to get back to his best, despite being plagued with a string of injuries in the last two years that has kept the 24 year old out of competition, and for a large part, out of the water completely.
The now Gold Coast based swimmer underwent a range of operations for both of his shoulders in late 2014 & earlier this year, which left him a total of 8 months out of the water, stating “it got to the point where something needed to be done…I didn’t want my career cut short so decided last year was the time to act to begin my bid to get back to career best form”, eluding to his early 2012 performances which included the 47.63 swim at the Australian Olympic Trials held in Adelaide, a swim which ranked him 2nd in the world at the time however the impressive performance was largely overshadowed by the 47.10 James Magnussen produced in the same race.
Training in Canberra at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) for 5 years, Roberts has recently returned to his hometown of the Gold Coast where he is training under former Australian sprinter, and Olympic Gold Medallist, Ashley Callus, at his childhood club Somerset, saying “…I decided to train under Ashley Callus in a one-on-one capacity as I was still a fair way off the top guys. It’s been good to slowly build at my own pace without judging where I am in comparison to others”.
Whilst Roberts admits it has been hard to remain positive with injuries and illness a seemingly constant disruption to his swimming career, he wants to continue to put his best foot forward to see what the future holds, saying he is excited at the thought of the young team that is together with Kyle Chalmers now in the mix alongside Magnussen and Cameron McEvoy, stating his ultimate goal would be to earn a spot on the 4×100 Freestyle relay team for Rio, which would require a top six finish at the Olympic Trials.
Providing all goes well, the comeback to racing is set to begin in a local carnival next month, with state championship meets to follow as he builds towards the trials being held in April next year, but in his cautious words he is taking each day as it comes, focusing on taking small steps and enjoying the journey.