SINGLE FOCUS: Thomas Fraser-Holmes is leaving no stone unturned in his mission for Olympic medals. Picture: Getty Images.THERE wasno feasting on Christmas Day for Newcastle swimmer Thomas Fraser-Holmes. No turkey,no chocolates and definitely no pudding.
Instead the 24-year-old was completing his annual Christmas challenge of100 laps of a 100-metre pool at his Gold Coast base inMiami.
The sacrificehada clear purpose– to continue building his bodytowardsan Olympic medal at Rio.
“I do my 100-100 every year, but for the past two years I haven’t made it, so I was pretty happy to finish it,” Fraser-Holmes told theNewcastle Herald.
This year looms as the biggest in “TFH’s” career. In April, Fraser-Holmes heads to Adelaide for the Olympic trials, where he hopes to qualify for the 200m freestyle, 400m individual medley and 4x200m relay inhis second Olympic campaignin August.
Fraser-Holmes’ medal hopes haverisen markedlysince his electrifying performance in November at the Australian Short Course Championships inSydney.
READY: Thomas Fraser-Holmes believes the London Olympics experience will benefit his Rio campaign.
His personal best time of three minutes and57.19 seconds set new Australian and Commonwealth short-course records for the 400m medley and delivered a nine-second victory.The performance was the perfect tonic to end a challenging 2015 for the Merewether superfish.
A year agoFraser-Holmes wasthe world No.1 200m freestyler and a Commonwealth and Pan Pacific Games gold medallist, but he suffered a major setback whenhe missed qualification for the 200m at the world titles byfinishingthirdatthe Australian championships inApril.
The result prompted an overhaul of his training regime undercoach Denis Cotterell.
“After worlds we satdown and looked at everything we were doing –my swim, my gym, my diet, my head space as well,” he said.“We scaled it all back and tried to figure out what really workedfor me, and I feel like it’s working and we’re all on the same page.”
Over the Christmas break Fraser-Holmes has been busy racking up 70 to 75kmper week in the pool and hitting the gym for nine to 10 sessions. It is all about preparinghis 194-centimetreframe for a gruelling season of competition.
“This block that I’m in, I’m trying to develop a springboard and get a lot of work behind me so I can work on my speed and strength coming into those crucial three months leading into trials and hopefully the Olympics,” he said.
Fraser-Holmes already hastwogold and one bronze Commonwealth Games medal. After the disappointing 2012 Olympiccampaign, where Australia failed to win anindividual swim gold medal for the first time since Montreal in 1976,Fraser-Holmes was identified as one of the rare success stories in London due to his then PB in themen’s 4x200mfreestyle final.
From the minute London wrapped up, expectations werehigh Rio would be Fraser-Holmes’ time to shine. As a member of the four-person leadership group, alongside Cate Campbell, Bronte Barratt andMatt Abood, he is expected to be a major player in Australian swimming’s revival.
“Everyone wants to leave a mark on any Olympics,” he said.“I feel like I’m in agood position. I could potentially swim some really fast times.If I can swim the times I want, I’ll be competitive.
“The trials are almost the hardest part and the Olympics are a bit of fun. Qualifying for that team is more nerve-racking than the actual Olympics itself, I reckon.”
Fraser-Holmes was afresh-faced rookie at London.After experiencingthe hype, pressureand competition of the Olympics, he feels better prepared mentally for the challenges that lie ahead.
“Now I’ve got all that knowledge, I’ve been to an Olympics and two Commonwealth Games villages, so I won’t be a deer in headlights this time,” he said.
“I’ll know more or less what I need to do. I’ll know what the dining hall is like, what the walk to the pool is like andwhat the bus is like. It’s all those little things that people don’t realise. The experience is such amassive thing.
“It’s a cool experience, and if you can harness your emotions and energy before the meet, that’s usually a pretty good indicator that you’ll swim well.”