Hocking fights through fatigue to win more gold
BELINDA Hocking credited her coach Rohan Taylor for helping her overcome the fatigue of winning gold at the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow, to back up and get another first place, at the Pan Pacific Games.
Hocking missed the meet record by just .01 seconds in the women's 200m backstroke at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre last night, finishing in 2:07.49.
She was second to Emily Seebohm in the 100m backstroke on Thursday night, but turned that around in the longer event, her teammate finishing strongly to win silver in a personal best of 2:07.61.
Hocking, 23, showed her modesty by deflecting the attention to her coach after her victory in the outdoor pool, following her triumph in Glasgow.
"Just the trust in my coach. I've really come a long way in trusting Ro and what we've done together," Hocking said, when asked what was the secret to her success at Glasgow and on the Gold Coast, in the space of only a month.
"I wasn't that confident going into this meet - I'm tired, and I'm looking forward to having a bit of a break after this.
"But Ro really had a lot of confidence in me, and I trusted that he knew what I was doing.
"I think that's what it comes down to."
Hocking was second to America's Olympic and world champion Missy Franklin at last year's world championships in Barcelona.
Franklin finished fourth this time, after carrying back spasms into the meet.
"I think that we've seen that we are athletes, but first and foremost we are humans and it showed that Missy is human this meet and she can be beaten," Hocking said.
"She has had a bit of a tough time, but I've definitely gained confidence going into the next two years."
Hocking said her strategy was to ease her way into the race before a second-half rush.
"It was what I've been doing over the past 18 months or so, just trying to ease into that first 75, build into the 100 turn and then just try and up my rate and go for it in the second half," she said.
"My back half is my strength, so I just try and use that as much as I can."
Hocking continued Australia's golden night in the pool after Alicia Coutts started it off in the first event, triumphing in the women's 100m butterfly final.
Illness disrupted Coutts's Commonwealth Games campaign, where she finished fourth in the 100m butterfly and collected silver in the 200m individual medley.
She won bronze in the event at the London Olympics and silver at last year's world titles, and admitted she had considered retirement after being disappointed with her display in Glasgow.
"I was thinking after Glasgow that maybe it was time I retired, because the disappointment was a pretty big hit," Coutts said.
"Just coming to terms with the fact I wasn't well. I wanted to come out here and prove to everyone that I've still got something in me."
In the men's 200m backstroke, American Tyler Clary fought to the wall to win the gold in 1:54.91.
Japan's Ryosuke Irie finished second for the silver medal at 1:55.14, and Australian Mitchell Larkin was third in 1:55.27.
Clary, known for his belly-flop celebrations, promised some theatrics could come.
"I'll tell you what - I'm going to talk to David (coach David Marsh) about the 200 IM tomorrow (today) and, depending how that conversation goes, I'm going to do a belly flop before, or possibly after the finals," he said.
"But the crowd has to get involved."