In training with major opposition
Matt Stanley is backing his preCommonwealth Games programme to help him match his Australian training partners in Glasgow.
The Matamata freestyler has spent a couple of months across the Tasman preparing for the Games that start next week, where he will contest the 200 and 400 metres freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay.
‘‘I’ve been doing the work with Australia’s best, so that gives me a lot of confidence,’’ Stanley said.
‘‘I was training with some of the best guys in the Commonwealth, that I’m going to be competing against, and with the Olympic and world champion Sung Yang from China. It was really brutal over the last month or so, and I’m starting to freshen up now and I’m really excited to race.’’
Under the gaze of coach Denis Cotterell, Stanley has also been doing more racing than usual and impressed at the French Open earlier this month when winning bronze in the 200m and 400m finals.
‘‘I was pretty happy with that – it was off quite a long flight just two or three days earlier.
‘‘So to get up and have a good hit-out – and the times were solid in-season times.
‘‘My main goal for the in-season meets – two in Australia, the Oceanias in NZ, and the French Open – was to get better each meet and I achieved that. So hopefully that’s a good sign that I can keep building and swim faster again in Glasgow.’’
The 22-year-old now wants to find his best form at the Games.
‘‘It’s really hard to control what your competitors are going to do, so I’ve just got to do my best on the day and really compete with the top guys in my events and not give them an inch, be really tough,
lot and see where that gets me.
‘‘ The Australians are historically really good at the middledistance freestyle events and will send a really strong team this year. In the 400m this year it’ll be David McKeon, Mack Horton and Jordan Harrison; in the 200m, Cameron McEvoy, Thomas Fraser-Holmes and McKeon.’’
Stanley, who has been training alongside Harrison and FraserHolmes, still has plans to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics too.
‘‘But if you want to do well in Rio, you have to keep improving because the rest of the world is,’’ he said.
‘‘If I want to be up there in 2016, I’m going to have to improve faster than anyone else. It is part of the bigger scene, but the focus of the next two weeks is going as fast as I can in Glasgow.’’
Matamata can also claim several other athletes who are competing in Glasgow as part of the Commonwealth Games. Casey Kopua is part of the Silver Ferns squad, Tim Mikkelson is in the sevens squad and Kylie Lindsay is in the squash team. Keep an eye on the Chronicle’s Facebook page to see how they are all getting on.
– Waikato Times
IN ACTION: Matamata’s Matt Stanley in action.