World champion Leisel Jones says she is feeling fresher than
ever and is gunning to break her own world marks in the 100m and
The Australian, who is almost untouchable in the events, is
using the world swimming championships this month as a springboard
to the Beijing Olympics, and wants to cement her supremacy ahead of
the 2008 showpiece.
"Being the defending champion (in both events) is confidence
building and I know I've done the hard work. I'm looking forward to
the pressure and atmosphere," the 21-year-old told the Herald
"I'm so excited about swimming in Melbourne.
"It will be the last stepping stone before next year's Beijing
Olympics and most people will want to get the best out of
She said home support for the main swimming events could drive
her to break more world records.
"The crowds will make a difference," Jones said.
"There will be a real energetic spirit that, hopefully, will
"World records are personal bests for me. I jump into the pool
every day wanting to break personal bests. You're always trying to
get the best out of yourself. I'm fully tapered and fresh."
But while Jones, who has been on the Australian team since she
was 14, is geared up for the Beijing Olympics, she is uncertain
about whether she will still be around for London in 2012.
"I'm so undecided about after Beijing. It's so up in the air,"
she was quoted as saying by The Melbourne Age newspaper.
"Beijing is still a year and a half away and that seems like
ages, so for me, I think I'll be relaxing for quite a while after
Beijing and then see if I want to get back in and do the journey to
"Another four years is a long, long time, so for now I'll just
worry about Beijing and be looking forward to an Olympic experience
US record-holder Jessica Hardy is seen as Jones's main threat,
along with Hardy's teammate Tara Kirk.
The world swimming championships officially open on Saturday
with synchronized swimming, although the main events do not start
until March 25.
(China Daily via AFP March 15, 2007)