Swimming: Commonwealth star Chris Cook backs Kate Haywood's Olympic dream
FORMER double Commonwealth swimming champion Chris Cook believes Kate Haywood is perfectly placed to complete her transformation from Australian exile to Olympic medallist this summer.
In 2010, Haywood took the decision to switch her base to Australia to train alongside Olympic champion Leisel Jones in Melbourne.
The move garnered criticism in some quarters as Haywood struggled initially, before finding her best form in March this year to seal her spot in Team GB for London 2012.
And Cook is adamant that Haywood's switch is about to pay off in full when she goes for a medal in the 100m breaststroke.
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"Kate took a lot of stick for heading off to Australia but the team itself has always been wholly supportive," said the retired swimmer, who won gold in the 100m breaststroke in Melbourne in 2006.
"But look at what she's achieved, she's had the last laugh and will definitely feel that going Down Under was the correct decision for her.
"She needed a challenge, to go away and find herself again and that is exactly what she has done so she deserves a lot of credit for taking the decision.
"She's answered her critics by making the Olympic team but now is the time for her to really work as hard as she can so that's she flying for when the games begin.
"I think she's got a real chance of a medal – she should be aiming for bronze and then who knows what happens on the day, a silver or even higher."
Haywood is one of a strong group of women's breaststrokers that includes Stacey Tadd and 15-year-old Molly Renshaw, as long as she secures her spot in the 200m at this month's second trials.
And Cook thinks that the strength of the competition will be the key to Haywood's potential success heading into the Games.
"This is a really exciting and talented group of women's breaststrokers and I think they are going to surprise a few people this year," he added.
"It's one of the stronger groups we have had for a long time, with new talent like Molly Rensahw coming through to shake up the more established names and it will be great to see them all going head to head in London."
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