After an impressive showing at the World Para Swimming Championships in Portugal last month, Australian Timothy Hodge is carrying momentum heading into the Commonwealth Games.
Hodge’s aim will be to add another Comm Games medal to accompany his 100m breaststroke Gold Coast Games silver that he won on Australian debut, four years ago.
The 21-year-old Paralympic swimmer has won three medals at the World Championships including one bronze in the 100m backstroke. His two gold medals were awarded following impressive performances in the mixed 4 x 100m medley relay as well as the 200m Individual Medley SM9. This particular event record was broken by Hodge, where he broke fellow Australian Matt Cowdrey’s 14-years-standing World Record.
Hodge spoke about the confidence he has after recent form and how he’s approaching the Commonwealth Games.
“Right now getting ready for Birmingham, it’s feeling really good,” Hodge explains.
“[We are enjoying] nice weather here in France and the racing’s ready, [I feel] really ready to go.
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Hodge continues to work hard at his preparation to ensure he can perform well again after coming off a strong outing at the Worlds. Hodge maintains that all he needs to do is keep it simple and achieve personal best times to come away with some silverware.
“My biggest hopes and goals in Birmingham would be to do well in my events,” he says.
“[I have] fingers crossed for the ‘PB’s’ (personal bests) but at the moment focusing on race plans, race practice and all the bits and pieces I need to get right leading into Birmingham so that I can achieve those PB’s and hopefully the medals will come with that.”
“Coming off world championships, I had a bit of a boost to my morale with the 200m IM (individual medley) and we’ve also been working on my 100m backstroke and some other things and heading into Birmingham, it will give me a chance to see what times I can put down.”
As with most Australian athletes that get the chance to perform on the international stage, Hodge puts the Commonwealth Games in high regard as he gets to live out his dream again and again.
“Comm Games for me, means another chance to represent Australia and another chance to put on the green and gold,”Hodge says.
“[It’s a chance to] give it my best and to do so alongside able-bodied athletes at the Comm Games, representing Australia and it’s just always a great feeling.
“It’s always me fulfilling my dream when I’m able to put on the green and gold and Birmingham is another opportunity.”
One of the most unique aspects to both the pre-games camp in France and this year’s Commonwealth Games themselves is that the events for able-bodied and para-athletes run concurrently across the games. Usually being staged in separate locations or times, Hodge is excited to be learning from and being around some of his able-bodied idols.
“Having a combined team, having able-bodied and para together I think is a great experience,” Hodge says.
“Very rarely do the teams come together because we usually have quite different competition programs [and] obviously world championships were in different places this year and at different times.
“We don’t have too much correlation with the able-bodied counterparts but having camp together and being able to compare stories from world championships and get to know each other quite well, especially with the newer team members, I just think it’s a great opportunity and it builds great camaraderie between the able-bodied and the para-athletes.”
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