SET TO MAKE A SPLASH: Alicia Coutts is aiming for a successful year in the pool, starting with the Aquatic Super Series in Perth.
SET TO MAKE A SPLASH: Alicia Coutts is aiming for a successful year in the pool, starting with the Aquatic Super Series in Perth. FRANCK ROBICHONEPA

Coutts continues to ride wave of emotion

AFTER the high of winning gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the London Olympics in 2012, Alicia Coutts experienced a different kind of emotion at last year's world championships.

The 26-year-old was reduced to tears after being mowed down in the final leg of the same event by American Megan Romero.

Coutts came away with five silver medals from the meet, the same number she earned at the Olympics, the Queenslander saying she overcame her initial disappointment after a chat with coach John Fowlie.

"I spoke to my coach after the race, thinking I had let the girls down, but he told me that was the fastest relay time I'd ever done," Coutts told APN. "That put things in perspective.

"It's easier to deal with something like that after an individual race because you don't feel responsible for anyone else."

Coutts admitted it had been difficult to prepare for the world championships after she took eight weeks off following the Olympics, experiencing a mental let-down as well as losing physical condition.

After being recognised for her contribution to swimming by being made a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) on Australia Day, she said she was now ready for a successful 2014.

While the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be the prime target, her first international meet will be the Aquatic Super Series which starts in Perth tonight against swimmers from China, South African, Brazil and Japan.

"I was really happy with how I went last year because after the Olympics ended I was kind of just thinking 'what now?'" Coutts said.

"It's tough to come back from that.

"But I'm happy with the way I'm training now and this meet should be a good gauge for where I'm at."

Coutts is no stranger to comebacks.

As a junior, she bounced back from a bad bout of glandular fever, and needed perseverance and determination after suffering complications following abdominal surgery in 2009.

"I considered early retirement, but those setbacks made me stronger - just like a woman gets stronger after having a baby," Coutts said.

On the subject of retirement, Coutts flagged that possibility last year, saying she could step down at the end of 2015.

"I'm just taking it as it comes. I'm not getting married until September next year (after the world championships in Kazan, Russia from July 24 to August 9), so I'll see where I'm at after that," she said.

MEDAL HAUL

London Olympics (2012): gold, 4x100m freestyle relay; silver: 200m individual medley, 4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay; bronze, 100m butterfly.

World championships (2013): silver, 100m butterfly, 200m individual medley, 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay.



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