Caloundra's Tessa Wallace is about to depart for her final training block in Europe before the 2012 London Olympics.
Caloundra's Tessa Wallace is about to depart for her final training block in Europe before the 2012 London Olympics. Brett Wortman

Wallace keeps a lid on it

WHEN an athlete remarks that they are "just looking to do their best", it is usually dismissed as a trite cliche, a buzz phrase, a throwaway line.

When it comes from the mouth of Tessa Wallace, however, when you sit back and appreciate her trials and tribulations to get to the London Olympics, it seems anything but a hollow platitude.

The Caloundra swimmer's path to the Games is a storied one.

For an 18-year-old to come from the clouds and produce an against-the-odds win in the 200m breaststroke at the Australian Swimming Championships is an achievement worthy of celebration, but it is the inner demons Wallace has battled and beaten that make her accomplishments all the more remarkable.

For much of her preparation she has battled Ross River virus and anaemia.

Both have the potential to be debilitating illnesses and threatened to bring about a premature end to her career. She also worked her way back from a serious knee injury that required surgery.

Her training patterns were seriously affected, but she never used her health as an excuse. Publicly she has been stoic and never given in to self-doubt.

She was never meant to earn her ticket to London and snared it through incredible mental application. For that reason she is grateful to be where she is.

Just days before jetting off to Europe for her final training block, she was farewelled yesterday at Caloundra Aquatic Centre by Pelican Waters clubmates, friends and family - those who had been there for the best and worst of times.

Speaking to the Daily she was expectedly excited about the biggest race of her life, yet measured in her expectations. Whatever comes next she is already a victor.

"I'm just taking it one step at a time," she said.

"It's going to be a hard race, but I can't go out too hard. I've just got to go out and get through the heats, go into the semis and max myself out there. If I can do a PB and make the final, that will be an achievement in itself.

"If I can then shave another second or two off my time, I might be in with a medal chance."



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