Swimming: Coaching change works wonders for backstroke star Emily Seebohm

Emily Seebohm poses with gold medal after winning women's 200m backstroke final at the Aquatics World Championships in Kazan
Emily Seebohm poses with gold medal after winning women's 200m backstroke final at the Aquatics World Championships in KazanPHOTO: REUTERS

Australian swimmer Emily Seebohm has evolved into a bona fide star since bagging the 100m backstroke silver at the 2012 London Olympics as a 20-year-old.

In August's Fina World Swimming Championships in Kazan, she won her first individual world titles, the 100m and 200m backstroke, improving on her sole individual silver at the last edition.

Impressively, the win came after the 23-year old had dislocated her right knee in May.

In an email interview with The Straits Times, she said: "For me, it was a confidence builder to show me that I can do it despite things that happened, like dislocating my knee and the change of coach.

"It has been one of my greatest achievements and is a great stepping stone for (the Olympics) next year."

However, Seebohm dismissed suggestions that being a world champion means having more pressure than usual. She said: "I put pressure on myself to perform, which helps me, but sometimes I need to remember that I am not a robot and I can't always be at my best.

"I love competition so that drives me a lot to be at my best most times I race."

The swimmer credits part of her improvement to a change in scenery. Seebohm switched to training under David Lush at Brisbane Grammar Swimming, after former coach Matt Brown relocated to Melbourne.

While the new training programme under Lush has needed some time to adjust to, she said: "I am really enjoying it and can't wait to see what happens next year."

In town for the Singapore leg of the Fina/Airweave Swimming World Cup, Seebohm said she is not looking too far ahead, and is instead focused on getting back in shape after a short break.

She said: "Preparations for next year are going really well. I had a small break after I did the first two World Cup legs after Kazan, which was nice to relax, and now I'm back doing the Asian legs.

"My first goal for next year is to make the (Australian Olympics) team as we have our trials next April. (Only after) then will I worry about my next goals."