Powerful teenager Kyle Chalmers is a huge loss from Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay team. But opportunity has knocked for rising West Australian Zac Incerti.
Olympic sprint champion Chalmers had heart surgery last week, ruling him out of next month’s world championships in Budapest.
Incerti, 20, will make his debut at the world titles after finishing fourth in the 100m freestyle at the national titles in April.
“He’s obviously a pretty big person to have in the team,” Incerti said of Chalmers. “But it’s more opportunity for the younger guys who are on this relay team to step up and show the country what we have. “He’s younger than me and he has done a lot more than any of us at this age so for sure it gives me a heap of confidence, not only for this meet, but the meets to come.
“Relays are a very big part of our country and we take a lot of pride in performing well at them so as long as all of us in the relay can take that into account, I think we can do really well.”
Incerti also expects to get a swim in the 100m backstroke and possibly a heat swim in the medley relay. He said he was not yet at the point where he needed to choose between the strokes.
The Broome product, who has developed from a “skinny little runt” to build an imposing frame, says he’ll be hitting worlds in good shape. But he’s not putting pressure on himself and is deliberately not focusing on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. “This is just a stepping stone for me,” he said.
“If I can learn and take on board as much information as I can going into comps next year I think it will be a win for me.
“I’m enjoying it and I’m trying not to worry about other things that may have bugged me in the past. I’m just trying to focus on the ultimate picture and I’m just happy to be where I am at the moment and just loving life.
“My coach has been asking me what it means to be successful and I’m trying to think about it. “But I’m just trying to have a bit of fun at the moment and take every day as it comes.\
“I’m not trying to set a goal for Tokyo at the moment. “I just want to enjoy it while I can and then when it’s time to be successful, hopefully I’m there.”
Originally Published at thewest.com.au
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