BORDER COMMONWEALTH GAMES ATHLETES: Belinda Hocking

BACKSTROKE

50m, 100m, 200m

  • FRIDAY: 100m heats
  • SATURDAY: 100m final
  • SUNDAY: 200m heats and final
  • MONDAY: 50m heats and semi
  • TUESDAY: 50m final

BELINDA Hocking is taking a different approach to her quest for an elusive Commonwealth Games medal in Glasgow.

The Wangaratta backstroker left the Australian Institute of Sport in the wake of a disappointing 2012 London Olympics — a personal best in the 100 metres overshadowed by a disaster in her pet event, the 200 metres, where she failed to make the final.

Now part of the elite training squad at Nunawading, she is doing things for herself.

“I needed to learn how to do things ‘in the real world’ — I now have to travel to go to the physio, the doctor is on the other side of town and I can’t get in with just five minutes notice.

“The AIS is great for development, but being in that environment is a little surreal.

“Melbourne has been great for me — I feel challenged, I have to take responsibility, in some ways I have had to grow up.”

Hocking, 23, is a veteran of the two ­Olympic campaigns — Beijing at just 17 and London — and the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, but the move from Canberra is not the only difference in her preparation of Glasgow.

She spent a week on the Gold Coast with her teammates three weeks ago and a week in Spain ahead of the 10-day staging camp in Manchester.

“I’ve never done it this way before but I think I’ll benefit from it — by the time I get to the camp I‘ll be over the jetlag, on European time,” Hocking said.

“The Commonwealth Games is a special event, seen in the public eye as a massive event for Australia, so there is a great deal of pride in making the team.

“We just want to do our country proud and get as many podium finishes as possible — swim to the best of our abilities.”

Hocking will swim the 100 metres, her pet 200 metres and the 50-metre backstroke dash.

She said teammates were likely to be the biggest threat, but didn’t rule out a “smokey”.

“They don’t take specialist swimmers for 50 metres because they are not deemed Olympic events, so if you are in the team for the 100 you are automatically in the 50,” she said.

“I wish I was good at the one lap dash but the shorter the distance the worse I am.

“The 50 is at the end of the program for me, so it will be a bit of fun, another race, and hopefully I can make a semi.

“In the 100 metres I’m up against Emily Seebohm, the Australian and Commonwealth record holder, and in the 200 metres it’s Emily, Megan Nay and a Canadian, Hilary Caldwell, who finished third at the world champs.

“I think the older you get the more you appreciate your teammates.

“I’ve been swimming against Emily and Megan for years — they are both phenomenal trainers, they work their butts off and if we race and they beat me, I know they have worked for it.

“But you never know — there is always someone new, someone you have never heard of who comes from nowhere.”

BORDER COMMONWEALTH GAMES ATHLETE PROFILES:

- Tory Thomas (mountain biking)

- Belinda Hocking (swimming)

- Gaye Shale (shooting)

- Jodi Elkington (long jump)

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