Olypmic swimmer Alicia Coutts helps students at Aranda Primary School to warm up. rt120523Olympics-1047.jpg Photo: Rohan Thomson
Canberra-based swimmers Alicia Coutts and James Roberts have the advantage of ‘‘flying under the radar’’ in their Olympic preparations, according to swimming legend Susie O’Neill.
‘‘Alicia Coutts races Stephanie Rice, probably the highest profile female team member and James [Roberts] races James Magnussen, the most high profile men’s team member, so they’re both in really good spots where they can relax,’’ O’Neill said.
‘‘They can just fly under the radar, just really concentrate on their training, have no distractions [and] see how they go.’’
Coutts isn’t feeling any pressure of expectation as she heads to her second Olympic Games, despite her five gold medal haul at the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
‘‘I sort of felt a bit more pressure after the Commonwealth Games, I’d done so well there and it was like ‘you need to win again’,’’ Coutts said. ‘‘But then I guess after [the Olympic] trials, I didn’t have my best swims, they were still decent swims, but I guess not going in as No.1 in the world, it’s a bit of pressure off your back.
‘‘I just want to go into the Olympics knowing I’ve done everything in my power to be as fit as I can be, to know I’ve done everything that I could and you know, whatever happens, happens ... I’m not going to let the event get the better of me.’’
O’Neill, who will be travelling to London to be part of the commentary team, caught up with Coutts and Roberts at a local school appearance for Olympic sponsor, Swisse, where she tapped into current training techniques and ‘‘interesting tidbits’’ as commentary preparation.
The 38-year-old mother of two, who retired after the 2000 Games, says she is glad to not be preparing for the Games as an athlete
‘‘When it’s on I’ll miss the feeling of winning or doing a really good performance, but I’m glad I’m not preparing for it at the moment, because it’s really a lot of work.
‘‘Going over as a commentator, that fills a bit of that void of missing the excitement and the adrenaline.’’
Coutts and Roberts, who train together at the AIS, head to Townsville later this week for training.