Ben Treffers ready to defend Commonwealth Games gold medal on Gold Coast
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Ben Treffers ready to defend Commonwealth Games gold medal on Gold Coast

Ben Treffers has rediscovered his love of swimming on the Gold Coast, but the defending Commonwealth Games champion is weighing up his long-term future in the pool.

Canberra swimmer Treffers moved to Queensland at the end of 2016 for a fresh start after missing out on selection for the world championships, despite winning the national 50-metre title.

Ben Treffers will chase gold in the 50m backstroke final.

Ben Treffers will chase gold in the 50m backstroke final.

Photo: Jamila Toderas

Treffers will race in the 100 metres backstroke on Thursday at the national titles, which double as Australia's Commonwealth Games selection trials.

He will then back up in the 50 metre backstroke to keep alive his hopes of defending his gold medal, and then compete in the 50 metre butterfly for the first time at a national championships.

But the 26-year-old is also starting to consider retirement, admitting he doesn't know how long he has left in the sport.

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"I haven't put an end date [on swimming], I'm just keen to see how I go this week and make a couple of calls from there," Treffers said.

"I'm in a good place at the moment. I'm looking forward to seeing what I'm capable of.

"I think being able to go for a surf up here on a Sunday and clear my head, that's been one of the key things keeping me in the pool and keeping me fresh.

"I've got a different sort of balance up here. It's been a great move in terms of keeping me swimming, because I don't think I could have kept going if I stayed in Canberra.

"Or at least I definitely wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. Up here I'm enjoying it and not taking it so seriously. I'm well aware that my career is going to come to an end soon, so I'm putting some building blocks in place to be as prepared as I can be for when that happens."

Treffers won 50 metres backstroke gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow four years ago. But his Olympic Games dream was crushed in 2016 when he failed to qualify for the team.

The 50-metre event isn't part of the Olympic program and Treffers wasn't quick enough to secure a spot for the 100-metre backstroke.

He was left out of the world championship team last year, fuelling his bid to chase back to back Commonwealth Games gold medals.

He is being coached by former world champion and Olympic gold medallist Ashley Callus and has overcome shoulder tendonitis to be fit for the selection trials.

"I think I'm maturing now a bit, not putting as much pressure on myself and enjoying those last few swims for whenever I do decide to call time," Treffers said.

"I put pressure on myself to swim well. I know I've put myself in a good position to compete and I'm just trying to have that positive outlook to see how fast I can go.

"I really do want to make the Commonwealth Games team. I'm trying to keep myself level and remember whatever happens at this meet, it won't determine my life.

"I've always done the [50-metre butterfly] and it fits in with the program this time, so I thought: 'why not?' It's a no-pressure event for me."

Chris Dutton is the sports editor at The Canberra Times.

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