D'Arcy, Monk ready to aim up in Canberra

Nick D'Arcy and Kenrick Monk will return to the pool for the first time since their gun photo controversy when the entire Australian Olympic Games swimming squad converges on Canberra this week.

The pair will look to put the past few weeks behind them when they take to the starting blocks at the AIS for a two-day competition, beginning Friday.

D'Arcy and Monk have kept their spots in the team, but have been ordered to return from London immediately after their events as punishment for posing with guns in photos which appeared on Facebook.

As a result, they have been banned from using social media, including Twitter, Facebook and blogging, for the duration of the Games, from July 27 to August 12.

D'Arcy is the fastest man in the world this year in the men's 200m butterfly, while Monk has qualified for the men's 200m freestyle and is in contention for the 4x200m men's relay team. Both will compete in their individual events in Canberra.

Arguably the highest quality array of swimmers to grace the national capital will take part in the farewell event.


Stephanie Rice, Alicia Coutts, James Magnussen and Jessica Schipper are just some of the gold medal hopes who will use the meet as their last competitive swim on Australian soil before taking on the world's best.

Times will be largely irrelevant, with swimmers yet to taper off to ensure they hit their peak at the London Games.

AIS coach John Fowlie, who looks after the likes of Coutts, Belinda Hocking and 100m freestyler James Roberts, said finding the perfect technique would be more important than who touches the wall first.

''The biggest thing is to putting their race plans together well, we're not looking at outcomes,'' Fowlie said.

''For Alicia in the 100m fly, making sure she's 19 strokes getting out rather than 20 strokes. Also, during the competition we'll be doing full race analysis, so looking at turn times, start times and how people are splitting things.

''We'll be looking at the process side of things at this meet and I'm sure it'll be the same for everyone.''

The national squad will begin arriving at the AIS on Wednesday, with relay teams to go through training and wet-plate testing before the competition starts.

Fowlie urged the Canberra public to make the most of the opportunity to see Australia's best swimmers up close before they depart for London.

''For the Canberra community is that it's a chance to get out and see your Olympic team,'' he said.