Swimmer Melanie Wright has sights on world titles
SWIMMING: Melanie Wright has "mixed emotions" about competing in the 200m freestyle at the world championships next month but she certainly won't be holding back in the event.
The 28-year-old from the Sunshine Coast was initially scheduled to swim in the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays but she received a shock call-up to replace Kylie Palmer in the individual event after the latter withdrew from the team after accepting a provisional suspension for a positive test to a minute amount of a prohibited substance, pending a tribunal hearing.
The two are good friends.
"Any time you get to swim for your country it's pretty special and it's quite a privilege but at the same time Kylie is one of my really good mates and I'm really sad that circumstances led her to withdrawal, so there are mixed emotions," Wright said.
"But hopefully I can do her proud and the country proud and at the same time she can sort herself out and get back on the team for next year."
Wright is intent on making her presence felt in the 200m by beating her personal best time (53.38sec).
"If I can go out there and swim faster than I ever have before then I can come away happy with that result," she said."
"I THINK I'm going in ranked within the top 12 so realistically the first step is to get in the final and if I can do that, then you never know what can happen."
While she has preferred the 100m freestyle in the past (finishing fourth at the 2012 Olympics) a renewed focus on the 200m could help her cause in the lead-up to selection for the 2016 Olympics.
A two-time Olympic gold medallist in relays, Wright is eager to make her presence felt in Rio de Janeiro, in relays and/or individual events.
"Everything is gearing towards that Games and anything you can do this year really is a confidence booster and a bit of preparation for next year," she said.
Wright expects her relay teams to be in the thick of the action at Kazan.
The 4x100m unit is rated the best in the world and broke the world record last year.
"We're looking to at least match our time from last year," she said.
The 4x200m squad has had some tweaks following the withdrawal of Palmer and also Sunshine Coast product Brittany Elmslie.
The 21-year old Olympic gold medallist pulled out of the team last month after undergoing surgery to a remove a benign growth in her breast. The operation and the recovery caused her to miss vital training time.
"She didn't want to let the team down so pulled out but I think she's already back in the pool and re-focused," Wright said.
"I'm sure she'll be back with a vengeance next year. She's a tough competitor and likes to step up