South African swimmer Wendy Trott is confident Team SA can turn things around at the London Olympics starting next week. We spoke to her about the build-up and asked her how things compared to Beijing four years ago.
Historically, Team South Africa has always done well in the pool at the Olympic Games, but after the disappointment of 2008 – where they failed to pick up a single medal – you get the feeling that the swimmers are looking to re-assert themselves in London.
Wendy Trott is one of South Africa’s leading contenders to break the drought, but the American-based swimmer is not about to put the cart before the horse. Trott missed out on the final in Beijing and she knows just how tough the field will be in London and she is not looking to get ahead of herself.
“Training has been going pretty well,” Trott told iafrica.com.
“In Rome I did a best time, which I haven’t done in a while… hopefully I can keep it going and pick up a PB (personal best) again.
“For me, I am looking to getting into the final. I narrowly missed out on the final in Beijing, which was disappointing. This time I want to get into that final and then take it from there. It starts by getting a lane and from there it will kind of take care of itself.”
The 800m freestyle swimmer is based in the United States for the bulk of the year, where she swims for the University of Georgia Bulldogs and she admits that she is enjoying training with the rest of the South African team, although – like the rest of her team-mates – she generally sticks to her own routine.
“Most of the time we are doing the same workout from our coach in the USA… it kind of sucks training by yourself! So it’s been good to join the others.
"It was important to be joining them early in the build-up to the Games, because the team atmosphere plays such a big role in how you perform. It’s been so nice to be around the other swimmers. Being part of an environment like that, knowing all the other swimmers, it makes it more comfortable and that really plays a huge role."
After the poor showing in Beijing, it has been encouraging to hear how positive the athletes are ahead of the London event – Trott is no different. And it appears that a lot of that positivity stems from the organisation and professionalism of Sascoc this time around.
“I think it is so much better this time,” stresses Trott.
“I am not sure why… but it has been so much better. As a team we have more experience, we are happier with the situation and how things are going in training…. It means we will have the right attitude to go out there and perform for the right reasons.
“Everything I have experienced organisation wise has been great. A lot of effort has been put in – management has been great on this trip and everybody has been really helping the athletes’ needs.
Trott is also expecting the swimmers to challenge for more medals in London.
"We have got a lot of potential for medals."
"We have a smaller team than in 2008, with fewer girls, and maybe fewer guys, but the support has been incredible. Even though I have been in the States, I have felt a lot more this time around…. We are representing South Africa and that support is really important to us - I hope we can bring back some good results."