Jenna Strauch is in the best shape of her swimming career leading into the most important meet of her life.
The 24-year-old from Bendigo has two opportunities over the next five days to realise a lifelong dream - a berth in the Australian Olympic team.
Strauch will swim in the 100m breaststroke (Sunday) and the 200m breaststroke (Wednesday) at the Australian Swimming Trials in Adelaide.
"I'm in the best shape and I've been training the best I have for my whole career,'' Strauch said.
"It gives me confidence going in and I know that I've put my best forward.
"There's nothing more or different I could have done to prepare myself. Whatever will be from here will be."
COVID-19 ensured the preparation has been like no other for Strauch.
The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics last year put the training loads of all athletes out of sync.
Gold Coast-based Strauch was forced to adjust and on the eve of the trials she's feeling a mix of relief and excitement.
"It's been the longest training block ever, but at the same time it has come around really quick,'' she said.
"I'm excited to finally get racing and see what happens.
"Obviously there's still a lot going in the world, so we're lucky to be able to still do the things we do.
"Keeping that in the back of my mind and making the most of every opportunity is where I'm at.
"I'm enjoying the ride."
Elite swimmers basically missed 12 months of racing which is not ideal leading into an Olympic year, but Strauch said she's confident her racing form is good enough for the trials.
"I've been able to get enough racing in to have some idea,'' she said.
"You're never going to have a true indication... but it's been good to have that racing environment back again.
"We're flying by the seat of our pants a bit still in that we don't know what's going to happen with Japan, Tokyo and travel.
"Even if you make the team you don't know what lies ahead because there's a lot of unknowns."
Qualifying for the Australian swimming team is not just a case of winning your event.
It's all about the clock.
The top two swimmers in each event will make the Australian team if their time in the final is inside the Olympic qualifying time.
If the top two swimmers in each final don't swim inside the qualification time their fate lies with the national selectors.
Heading into the 100m breaststroke, Strauch is the fourth-ranked Australian with a time of 1:07.40. The qualification time is 1:06.97.
The 200m breastroke is her pet event. She's ranked second in the country with a time of 2:24.49 - just 0.31 of a second outside the qualification time.
"It is ruthless how it works, but that's how it has been forever,'' Strauch said.
"I walk into the meet knowing I'm around the mark, but I personally try not to think about the time.
"It's more about the process and executing my plan. If I can do that, the rest will take care of itself."
Strauch's biggest supporters - her Bendigo-based family have been stuck in lockdown in recent weeks and border closures mean they're unlikely to make the trip to Adelaide.
"They were scheduled to come (to Adelaide)... but at this stage they won't be able to come,'' Strauch said.
"We're praying for a miracle at the moment. Fortunately, Adelaide is not that far away from Bendigo, so if the borders do open up they might make a mad dash to get across.
"It's hard because this has been a life journey. They've been through this with me and it's exciting for them as well."
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