Dolphins swimming out to restore pride
Christian Sprenger prepares for training at the Tollcross Aquatic Centre. Pic: Ian Munro

The path to Glasgow 2014 is a road to redemption for Australia’s swimming team.

And breaststroker Christian Sprenger is happy to be leading the Dolphins in the journey.

Scandals out of the pool and a performance well below expectation at the London Olympics two years ago muddied the waters for the nation’s aquatic stars.

The swimmers know the culture had to change. Modifications have been made and Sprenger, last year’s world champion in the 100m breaststroke, believes the Australian public will see the benefits of the attempts to restore pride within the team.

“I’ve heard that question (about the culture) a lot over the past two years,” Sprenger said.

“Leading into this competition we have no thoughts of London. That was in the past. We’ve moved forward. The new attitude and mindset is very positive.

“It can quickly turn around. If we bring home hundreds of gold medals this week the Australian public will see a new Swimming Australia team.”

One of the changes made by Swimming Australia leading into the Games was to split old roommates. Senior members of the squad were paired with rookies to help bonding.

Olympic gold medallist Michael Klim was also brought to the pre-Glasgow camp in Manchester to serve as a mentor.

The “no I in team” motto has also been pushed strongly during briefings. Too much individualism was seen as a major downfall for the men’s unit at London, especially among the freestyle sprinters.

Bronte Barratt, who is targeting success in the 200m and 400m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games, can vouch for the new attitude from the Dolphins.

“We are one team. We are swimming for each other. We are here to support each other. It is not about individuals,” Barratt said.

“Having that support will translate into faster swimming for everyone.”
The swimming program starts on Thursday.

The West Australian

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