Nine weeks, five countries and two world-class swimming events - it's why Jenna Strauch has made the necessary sacrifices to become an elite swimmer.
The former Bendigo East Swimming Club junior departed Australian soil at the weekend to prepare for a hectic schedule of swimming against the best in the world.
The 25-year-old is currently with the Australian swimming squad in Slovakia for a training camp.
From Slovakia the squad travels to Hungary for the FINA World Championships, which run from June 17-July 4.
At the completion of the world titles, Strauch and her Aussie team-mates have training camps in Spain and then France before relocating to England for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games from July 28-August 8.
"It's going to be very busy, but at the same time it's very exciting,'' Strauch said.
"I did give some thought to only competing in one of the two events, but the way it has fallen is that this year it's jam-packed whereas next year there is less on.
"It's a great opportunity for me to get race exposure at that international level.
"Coming from Australia we don't get that opportunity that often, so I'm trying to maximise that this year and use it to grow as an athlete.
"Next year will be a big work year and then it's another Olympics (Paris, 2024)."
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Strauch made her Olympic debut in Tokyo last year where she missed out on qualifying for the 200m breaststroke final by an agonising half a second.
The preparation required for Tokyo and the magnitude of that event meant Strauch went into the recent Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide confident of success, but without high expectations in terms of times.
She surprised herself by dominating the women's breaststroke events.
Strauch won the 100m and 200m and finished second in the 50m to cement her place in the Australian team for the world titles and Commonwealth Games.
"Coming off such a big year last year and having some time off in December... I probably didn't expect to be swimming this quickly at this stage,'' Strauch said.
"It was a pleasant surprise. I have my focus on the long term, so I'm using everything I can to get better."
Strauch said the Tokyo Olympics and competing in the prestigious International Swimming League in Europe had made her a better athlete.
"Last year's experience definitely helped me,'' she said.
"Going away to ISL was massive for me. Racing every week against the best in the world in my event takes a skill that you really only learn once you've done it.
"The nationals was where it came together for me in terms of getting prepared to race and backing up for each event.
"It's a process for me and it's very much about what I need to do and what I need to execute.
"Primarily, the 200m is my main event, but 200m work does tend to lend itself to swimming a quick 100m.
"The 100m is something that I want to work on because there are (medley) relay opportunities.
"The speed doesn't come naturally to me, so it is something I need to keep working on."
As the winner of the national title, Strauch is in the box seat to swim the breaststroke leg for the women's 4 x 100m medley relay at the world championships, but a final decision won't be made until the day of the event.
It's rare for two major international swimming events to be scheduled so close together.
Strauch said she was trying to keep her focus on the world titles.
"I'm an in the moment type of person and I don't look too far forward,'' Strauch said.
"My focus right now is on the world championships, but I'm lucky that I have a great team that has worked out my training to ensure that I'll be ready to go again for the Commonwealth Games.
"There's quite a lot of science and planning that goes into it, but I'm lucky I just have to turn up and do the work and give it everything I've got."
In terms of goals for the world championships, Strauch is not looking out of her lane.
"Naturally, you don't go to an event like the worlds just for the sake of going,'' she said.
"You want to make the final and you want to medal, but at the same time I don't get too caught up in that because it can be distracting.
"I want to execute the lead-in and execute the races and see where that lands me.
"If it all goes to plan, hopefully, I'll get to where I want to be."
As a child, Strauch watched on with excitement as some of her swimming heroes won gold at the Commonwealth Games.
The opportunity to represent her country at a Commonwealth Games is something she cherishes.
"I'm super excited about the Commonwealth Games, being my first one,'' she said.
"The Commonwealth Games has the world record holder in my event (South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker) and a couple of the British girls are quite quick as well.
"It's going to be some really good competition in an exciting environment.
"Australia has always put a lot of emphasis on the Commonwealth Games, so I want to soak that up.
"My family and my partner are travelling to Birmingham to watch the Commonwealth Games, so that makes it a bit more special.
"Because of COVID they missed the Olympics and ISL and those big moments in my career.
"It will be nice to know they are there to share the experience with me."
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