A suburban pool on the Gold Coast is not the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Swimming against Australian team-mates is not the same as taking on 200m breaststroke world champion Yuliya Efimova.
For Bendigo's Jenna Strauch, just being in a pool and competing was a welcome distraction.
Last Saturday, Strauch should have been in Tokyo representing her country at the Olympics, but the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to that opportunity for 2020.
Instead of being in Tokyo, Strauch was at her Gold Coast base last weekend swimming against the clock and her friends in a Swimming Australia organised event.
While it wasn't an Olympic final, after a difficult six months, the event did get Strauch's competitive juices flowing and put a smile on her face.
"It was great to get in the pool and race and be around people who, potentially, would have been in the Australian team in Tokyo or around for the trials,'' Strauch said.
"We also had a few swimmers from Victoria doing the same thing as us on a television hook-up.
"It was remote racing and it was a way of making the best out of a bad situation.
"It was pouring rain, but weather aside it was nice to get back into that environment.
"That's what we train for."
Importantly for Strauch as she looks ahead towards the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in 2021, she performed strongly at last weekend's meet even though she's had a restricted training program in 2020.
The events were different to regular Olympic races, with Strauch in fine form in the 75m, 150m and 300m breaststroke.
"It's always nice to get out and race and swim well,'' Strauch said.
"Confidence wise it was good to know that despite everything that we've been through I was able to get out there and produce.
"We're still a year away from the Olympics, but it was nice to swim well."
Strauch said this week had been difficult mentally, knowing that the Olympic swimming events would have been on had it not been for COVID-19.
"It's an unusual feeling that is a bit hard to describe,'' she said.
"This time last year I went to the world championships and it was such an incredible experience.
"To think that 12 months later the event we were all aiming for is not there...is just bizarre."
The 23-year-old is back in full training, but at this stage has no events to prepare for outside of Tokyo in 12 months time.
The National Short Course Championships are scheduled for Melbourne in November, but that event appears unlikely to go ahead because of the COVID-19 issues in Victoria.
"We've been back in the pool for a couple of months, but it's been a slow build.
"It started with only being allowed at the pool for hour sessions and only one person per lane at a time.
"We weren't allowed to use the showers and things like that which made things tricky.
"Now the facilities are fully open and we're building our training up again.
"It's hard because we have no trajectory to where we're going in terms of dates of events.
"Yes, the Olympics have been set for next year, which is great, but the lead-up to that we don't know what that holds and it looks like we won't know for a while.
"Things have gone back to normal, and I'm very grateful for that because swimmers in some countries can't do that, but it remains challenging because in the short-term we don't know what we're pushing for."
Victoria's ongoing COVID-19 battles means Strauch can't her close-knit family in Bendigo.
"I haven't seen my family since Christmas and I haven't been back to Bendigo since I had a little break after the world championships last year,'' she said.
"It's a long time away from home. I think when people tell you that you can't do something, you want to do it even more. Knowing that I can;t go home makes me want to go home even more.
"I had booked a trip home just before the second wave...but three days before I was meant to come home things started turning pear-shaped and I had to cancel.
"It was a hard pill to swallow because I was excited about seeing my family.
"It's not ideal, but I'm lucky that I get to talk to them on the phone everyday."
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