Merewether freestyler focuses on world championships

AFTER the hollow feeling of missing selection for the London Olympics, Jarrod Killey left no stone unturned to ensure he would be on the plane tomorrow to the swimming world championships in Barcelona.

And the Merewether freestyler will not be satisfied unless he forces his way into the team for the 4x200m final and returns with a medal.

Killey, 22, was sixth in the 200m at the nationals to grab the final place for the relay.

Fellow Novocastrian Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Cameron McEvoy finished one-two at the trials and will be rested from the heat for the final, leaving the other four vying for two spots.

Killey’s time of one minute 47.25 seconds at the nationals was 0.29 seconds behind bronze medallist David McKeon (1:46.96).

“Denis Cotterell is the 4x200m relay coach,” Killey said.

“When the team got together for the first time back in April he told us that the two fastest swimmers from the morning will be part of the final team.

“The goal is to absolutely get in that final team. I think I will have to go faster than I did at nationals.

“The last time Australia medalled in 200m relay was 2009.

“We were the No.1 team in the world for a long time but since Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett retired we have not been as strong.

“We have been rebuilding since then and have a strong group of guys now.

“You can never count out the Americans. The French are a strong team as well but we plan to make it as hard as possible for those guys.”

Killey, who along with Fraser-Holmes came through under Shane Arnold at Hunter Swim Club, heads to Barcelona in form after winning gold in the 200m freestyle at the NSW Country Champions at the Olympic Aquatic Centre last weekend.

McKeon was runner-up.

“I thought it might be a good idea to have a bit of a hit-out and test where I was at,” he said. “I came up on top and in front of Dave. It is always nice to get one up on a teammate.

“I was really happy with my performance. Hopefully I am in a good spot for Barcelona in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Killey was a member of the relay team that finished fifth at the last world championships in Hangzhou in 2011 but missed the cut for the Olympic team.

“Missing the team for London was an excellent source of motivation, knowing you don’t want to be back in that situation ever again,” he said.

At 22, Killey, who is studying accounting part-time at Canberra University, is the elder statesman of the relay team.

“We are quite a young team,” he said. “I don’t see myself near my peak yet. I was a late developer in swimming. I did not win a national age group medal until I was 18, which in swimming is quite late.”

Fellow Novocastrian Angie Bainbridge, a member of the women’s 4x200m teams that won gold at the Beijing Olympics and silver in London, has taken an indefinite break from swimming.