Road to Rio: Swimmer Josh Beaver eager to make Olympic debut


Australian swimmer Josh Beaver is preparing to make his Olympic debut after missing out on London qualification by less than a second.

Four years ago Josh Beaver came agonisingly close to Olympic qualification, falling just 0.2 seconds short of a London Games debut.

"It was a little clap basically, that's how I describe it," he told SBS News.

"But that's all it is to me now, a little clap, and I've put it behind me and now to be able to move on."

Beaver specialises in going backwards, but he keeps his focus forwards and last month he finally earned his Olympic debut with a performance that undercut the Rio qualification time by over a second.

His qualification made him an instant celebrity in his rural home town of Tooradin in eastern Victoria.

"I actually received a letter in the mail from my old canteen lady that said 'I always wanted to make lunch for Joshua Beaver as an Olympian, and now he's an Olympian'," he said.

His coach Rohan Taylor told SBS News Beaver had a special quality that made him a world-class backstroker.

"In general they have to be good technicians in swimming in length, so I always say a good backstroker looks tall in the water," he said.

Beaver swims at least 55 kilometres a week in training, but Taylor said it would be the mental game that maked the difference.

"Training is like driving on a freeway in no traffic, but you have to learn to drive in traffic," he said.

"It's the distractions around you that get in the way."

Currently ranked inside the top eight globally, Beaver's personal best over 200m is 1:56 flat, but he's aiming to shave off at least a second before August to be amongst the medal contenders in Rio.

"There's only a small percentage of people that improve from their actual qualifying event to the actual Olympics, so I want to be in that percentage," he said.

"I don't want to just be a number at the Olympics I want to be a competitor."

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