Swimming: Gold medallist vows to compete at Rio

Libby Trickett says her London experience inspired her passion for swimming. Photo / AP
Libby Trickett says her London experience inspired her passion for swimming. Photo / AP

Four-times Olympic gold medallist Libby Trickett has vowed to keep swimming and compete in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

But the 27-year-old admits it won't be easy.

The world record holder helped secure Australia's only gold medal in the pool at the London Olympics as part of the women's 4x100m freestyle relay team.

Welcomed with cheers as she stepped off the plane from London yesterday with her teammates, Trickett said coming home with gold was crazy and surreal.

"I didn't even dream of being in London, let alone walking away with a medal," she said.

"I think through it all, it's just inspired my passion for swimming again. I'm going to Rio.

"It's going to be challenging and frustrating and awesome," she said.

"But I'm just so thrilled with that opportunity to try and make another Olympic team. It would be another dream come true."

Despite London being Australia's worst Olympic swimming performance in 20 years, Trickett was encouraged by the amount of promise shown by the team - particularly the younger athletes.

"It's only a disappointment if you don't learn from those things," Trickett said. "A lot of the guys on the team did personal bests just to make finals, which is a wonderful effort, particularly at an Olympic Games.

"That's just cemented the fact that in the next four years we're going to be great and hopefully that's how the Australian public and the media will take it."

Trickett said one of the sport's greatest challenges would be retaining swimming coaches in Australia and not losing them to competing countries. "We have a huge amount of talent considering we're such a small country in terms of swimming, but we need the right coaches and we need the right coaches to be paid well enough to stay here and be coaching Australian athletes," she said.

Fellow swimmer James Magnussen was also looking ahead to Rio to chase the elusive 100m freestyle gold medal that slipped from his grasp in London.

The Missile remains proud of his achievements at the Olympics and has become more mature because of his experience.

"It was a massive rollercoaster of an Olympics, but I've come out the other side a better person," he said.

"It's made me more ambitious and more motivated than ever before.

"I've just got to do everything I can to get to the next games in better form and better condition than I have to this one."

The pressure may have been greater than he expected but Magnussen said he was happy with his preparation ahead of this year's Games and doesn't plan on changing anything for 2016.

"I've shown time and again that I can perform on a big stage and I still have the fastest time in the world, even though I wasn't able to reproduce that at the Olympics." AAP

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