Gareth Kean hones his style for Olympics

20:31, Jun 06 2012
Gareth Kean
LOOKING TO MAKE A SPLASH: Gareth Kean will compete at the London Olympics.

Gareth Kean is on the road again – Durban is behind him, today it is Cairns.

The Wellington backstroker continues to build towards next month's Olympic Games and next up is a two-week camp in Cairns with the New Zealand squad.

That will be followed by two days of racing against the might of Australia in Canberra, the type of meet that generally sorts out the contenders from the pretenders.

"Being able to race against them, even if you aren't up to scratch, will be interesting," Kean said.

He will swim his specialist 100 metre and 200m backstroke events as well as some variations such as the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly.

Kean doubts there will be any visible improvements or changes despite his recent two-week stint in Durban under South African coach Graham Hill.


Kean swam daily with four members of South Africa's Olympic squad, including their highly rated 20-year-old, Chad le Gros.

The focus of the trip to South Africa was two-fold – to provide a change of scenery for Kean but also to improve his underwater work.

"We did a lot of hard training – they were tough trainers," Kean said. `I did a lot of 25 metre training with the emphasis on the fly and IM [individual medley].

"Being a backstroker, I prefer to be on top of the water. Using the wall quite often helped, so I felt a lot stronger when I got back."

Kean learned yesterday that he will also swim the 4x100m medley relay at the Olympics. The confirmation was made by Fina, the sport's ruling body, with the New Zealand team now officially at 16 swimmers for London.

The women's 4x100m freestyle relay, men's 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay teams have all made the cut.

The men's 4x100m medley relay combination of Kean, Glenn Snyders, Daniel Bell and Carl O'Donnell set a time of 3:35.09 at the trials, second fastest of non-qualified countries behind Hungary.

"We will be competitive," Kean said. "Glenn and I are in the top few in the world at the moment to lead off that team – and Daniel Bell, you never know what he will pull off in the fly leg, then Carl gets his chance in the freestyle."

Contact Jonathan Millmow
Sports editor

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