Master coach guides London-bound Matt Stanley
With London looming on the horizon for first-time Olympian Matt Stanley, the Waikato 20-year-old has hopped The Ditch for a few weeks to get the jump on the competition.
Matamata-born Stanley is training on the Gold Coast with renowned long-distance swimming Denis Cotterell, who is famous for coaching Australian Grant Hackett to two Olympic golds in 2000.
Cotterell is currently training Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, the incumbent world champion in the 800m and 1500m freestyle.
"He's probably the best long-distance coach in the last 20 years in the world," Stanley said.
Stanley completed a brief stint with Cotterell in December which he said helped him prepare for the national championships earlier this year where he broke two long-standing records in the 100m and 200m and became New Zealand's brightest hope for medalling in London's swimming events.
He has been putting in long hours at Cotterell's famous Miami Swim Club which has two Olympic-sized pools, training alongside 20 other Olympic hopefuls from China who also fronted up to learn from Cotterell.
"I've been here over for a week and it's been crazy. It's probably been one of the hardest weeks of my life," he said.
"[The training] is just long and hard. I'm getting fit and that's why I'm over here, to get fit and to get tough mentally and physically ... there's no time for complacency, you've just got to get in there and do the work."
He said doing long-distance work conditioned him to be more competitive in his short distance races. "It's really good for your base training, it's easier to step down than to step up."
Stanley admitted the pressure of competing in the world's most high profile sporting event had left him feeling anxious but he was trying to changed his perception of it.
"At the end of the day, it's still just a swimming race and you've got to treat it like that.
"I'm doing well. I think it's hard to know exactly where you need to be before going into your first Games so I'm just doing the best that I can do with all the support that I've been getting," he said.
Stanley will be back in the country next week but it's a short stint before he is off to training camps and the Australian Grand Prix in Canberra. Then mid-July he will make his way to Belgium to get the feel for European competition before the Olympic events kick off.