Olympics: Kate Haywood credits Australia move for realising London 2012 dream
GRIMSBY swimmer Kate Haywood believes her move Down Under has turned her Olympic dream on its head, claiming she will arrive at London 2012 in the shape of her life.
The 25-year-old breaststroker, who has two European silver medals and two Commonwealth bronzes to her name, took the decision to relocate to Melbourne 18 months ago to train under the stewardship of Rohan Taylor.
Training at the same Nunawading Swimming Club as fellow Brit and world silver medallist Ellen Gandy, Haywood has breathed fresh life into her career which, by her own admission, was almost over before upping sticks from her native Lincolnshire.
At the British Gas Championships at the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, Haywood didn't set the Olympic pool alight but in securing gold she booked a return to the capital this summer.
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But Haywood, who finished 11th over 100m at Beijing in 2008, is convinced that at the second bite of the Olympic cherry she can book her place in the final.
"I moved to Australia because I was at that stage of do I give up or carry on?" said the former Lincoln Vulcan and Louth Dolphin.
"So I moved down to Australia and I've been there for a year-and-a-half now and I've absolutely loved swimming again.
"I've seen a big improvement and I feel like I'm in the best shape I've ever been in and while I've got a few months to go and a few things to work on I believe I will see an improvement at the Olympics.
"And a lot of that is down to my coach out there and the group of swimmers that I work with."
While she will fine-tune her London 2012 preparations in Melbourne, Haywood jetted back into London recently to take part in a National Squad Camp at the Aquatics Centre.
The next time Haywood sets foot on British soil it will for the real thing and Haywood believes sampling the London 2012 pool again gives her a sizeable advantage.
"I was really pleased with my performances at the British Gas Championships," added Haywood, who won the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award in 2003.
"Obviously I wanted to go quicker than I did in my final but to be honest it was all about just being there and making sure of my place on the team.
"It was very tough and everyone is very nervous and you had the excitement but also the pressure of knowing that this was where you wanted to perform if you wanted to get to the Olympics.
"So for me it was a good swim but I think there is more in there and hopefully at the Olympics I will go quicker.
"It's only four months so it's a case of carrying on from what we've been doing and then getting ready to swim fast in July and August.
"I swam at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 and having a home crowd there was amazing, but this time there will be 17,500 people there cheering you on."
British Gas supports British Swimming at all levels and is getting the nation to show its support for Britain's swimmers. For more information visit www.facebook.com/BGSwimming