Zac Stubblety-Cook has become a household name in the swimming world since his debut at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, with regular podium placings at top level events.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games wasn’t the ideal first meet for the then 19-year-old who finished 10th place in the 200 metre breaststroke and failed to make the finals in front of a home crowd.
“Gold Coast wasn’t the best meet, hopefully we can redeem a little bit of that this time and enjoy it a bit more,” Stubbelty-Cook told media earlier this week.
“It’s four years ago now and something I reflect on, that I’m grateful for not actually having the best experience.
“For me it gave me much more learning than if I was successful. It holds a special place in my heart but I am really looking forward to hopefully a bit of redemption.”
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The learning for Stubblety-Cook in the four years since Gold Coast has been extensive, with successful campaigns representing Australia at Olympic Games, World Championships and Pan Pacific games.
He has made the 200 metre breaststroke his own since 2018, winning gold medals in Tokyo and the recent World Championships in Budapest. To cap that off, he is also the world record holder of the event in a time of 2:05:95 set in May at the Australian National Championships.
The preparation for the Commonwealth Games has been unusual for athletes. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics being delayed due to COVID, it has condensed their preparation for Birmingham, on barely a year’s turn around.
“It is different having four week turnarounds between trials, to worlds to this [Commonwealth Games] we are trying to get as much work as we can,” Stubblety-Cook said.
“The taper is shortened a little bit and you are losing fitness each time you take a little rest.”
Despite all this, the prospect of racing again has him excited and ready to get back in the pool. A win would mean a trifecta of gold medals in major world swimming events.
“I am excited for the next step… it’s something I really enjoy, I really enjoy racing,” he continued.
“I really enjoy getting the best out of myself in those moments and those moments only come so often… what I am living for this year is taking advantage of every moment I have and every time I jump in the pool.”
The Birmingham Commonwealth Games begin July 28th with the Swimming commencing on Day 1 of competition on July 29th.
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