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Seebohm determined to be face of Oz swimming at Delhi CWG
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Seebohm determined to be face of Oz swimming at Delhi CWG

With Australias champion swimmer Stephanie Rice opting out of the XIXth Delhi Commonwealth Games owing to injury and surgery, Emily Seebohm has emerged as the potential face of Australian swimming at the event.


New Delhi, Oct. 2 : With Australia's champion swimmer Stephanie Rice opting out of the XIXth Delhi Commonwealth Games owing to injury and surgery, Emily Seebohm has emerged as the potential face of Australian swimming at the event.

Seebohm said that she is ready to step out of Rice's lengthy shadow.

"I'm ready; just waiting for it now is the hardest thing," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted her, as saying.

Seebohm faces quality opposition across all six individual events and, to achieve what she most passionately wants, will need to step up another level.

What gives the Australian team, and particularly coach Matt Brown, confidence is that Seebohm, 18, has already shown this ability to rise with the class.

Beijing in 2008 was a notably exception, when the 16-year-old - whom Brown thought was a serious contender rather than a kid with potential - flopped in the 100 metres backstroke and missed the final.

Brown reckons his young charge was swallowed up by the enormity of the occasion.

"Everyone talked about the Olympics being the Olympics, and I think it became bigger than life. But it was a great experience for her, and I think she had to through that," he said.

Indeed, she fought straight back, and her lead-off swim in the relay would have been quick enough to place third in the 100m backstroke. Still, complete recovery took longer.

"It's really taken her two years to lose the Olympics monkey," Brown admitted.

In fact, the monkey had a name: Natalie Coughlin, who won the gold medal. In August, Seebohm had her chance to shake the monkey when the pair raced in the Pan Pacs in California.

"She lined up against Coughlin in her in heats, the final and the lead-off of the relay, and nailed her three times. I don't think that's going to be an issue for her again; she's moved on," Brown observed.

At the Pan Pacs, Seebohm went on to claim another gold with a decisive victory over world-record holder Ariana Kukors in the 200m individual medley. Now she's ready to continue her rise with an even fuller program in Delhi.

Those around her are convinced she can cope.

ANI

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