Expectations to weigh heavily on PrinslooComment on this story
Johannesburg - The pressure of high expectations will be weighing heavily on South Africa's queen of the pool Karin Prinsloo at the Commonwealth Games which begin next week.
Prinsloo is experiencing the best year of her young career and, with that, the hope that she can translate that form into silverware in Glasgow.
“The year started good for me where I swam two personal bests in Australia. At nationals, I matched my PBs and again in Europe I swam three South African records,” Prinsloo said.
“I am very positive about the Commonwealth Games but it is also stressful. I've done so well so now I know I have to perform.”
She has come a long way since her Olympic debut in London two years ago, where she progressed to the semi-finals of the 200m backstroke, and made a brief appearance in a 200m freestyle heat.
She went through a rather uneventful 2013 as she quietly went about her business in the pool.
This year could not be further removed from the two preceding it and, in a very short period, she has become a known quantity at swimming events.
“It has been quite weird because the guys used to take all the shine and now, for the first time, people ask to have their photos taken with me at galas. It is awesome to finally get my breakthrough,” she said of her new-found fame.
Prinsloo initially qualified in four individual events for the Commonwealth Games but she could possibly drop the 200m backstroke from her repertoire.
She has been in sizzling form in the freestyle events and said she might just focus on the 100m, 200m and the 400m freestyle events at the Games.
“Of the three freestyle events, the 200m is my best as I am ranked fourth in the Commonwealth - which is of course the closest to a medal.
“Everyone will be swimming better there but hopefully I can do the same.”
Prinsloo had done some extensive racing since the start of the year and it was inevitable she would fall ill at some point.
She sat out for the final week of the team's European stint and had since eased her way back into training over the last week.
Traditionally performing better when in heavy training mode, Prinsloo said she would now up the ante ahead of the Games.
“I could not train that hard, so I had more rest time. Now I need to put in the hard work in the pool because I do better if I don't taper,” she said.
“I just need to get that long distance in, then I will taper off a bit in the last week.”