Melanie Schlanger: Unsung hero of the pool
SWIMMING: In the recent national swimming championships where Australia's rise as a world force continued, there was no doubt Melanie Schlanger was the unsung hero.
A London 2012 gold medalist, Sunshine Coast product Schlanger had a 2013 to forget.
She missed out on the world championships due to illness and injury.
First it was a rib setback, followed by a shoulder issue and finally it was a virus that kept her out of the pool.
But she will still compete at the Commonwealth Games starting in July in Glasgow, in the 50m freestyle after finishing third behind in-form sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist (from the 4x200m freestyle in 2008 and the 4x100m free in 2012) will also feature heavily in more relay action.
Schlanger finished third in the 50m freestyle at the Australian titles in Brisbane, putting her on the plane to Scotland.
"Last year was very difficult, so to be back for the championships was pleasing," Schlanger told APN.
"I was disappointed with my time in the 100m freestyle final (at the nationals in Brisbane), but I only had a six to eight-week training block to prepare for that.
"I hope to also swim all those (individual and relay) events in the Pan Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast later this year (in August)."
Schlanger said her difficult 2013 will only steel her ambitions to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"Everything I went through has only made me tougher," she said.
"I'd love to go to Rio, but I'm just taking things year-by-year at the moment."