Leah welcomes Commonwealth Games pressure
SWIMMING at the Commonwealth Games in front of a vocal Queensland crowd presents a wonderful experience for Ipswich's international achiever Leah Neale.
"I think there will be a bit of home pressure just because I've got a lot of family and friends that are coming to watch,'' Neale said.
"But I think it will be really similar in the sense that you want to do well for your country and want you do well for yourself as well.''
Being one of the senior members in the world class Aussie team, Neale is ready for next month's campaign.
"To get the opportunity to swim on home soil, it's so exciting,'' Neale said, counting down the days until her 200m freestyle heat swim on the first day of competition.
"I've been on the (Australian Dolphins) team since 2014 so I'm probably classed as one of the older, more experienced ones.''
Neale, 22, was confident being a successful Olympian would help her at Commonwealth Games level.
"I can come in now and sort of know what to expect,'' she said.
Being chosen on her first Commonwealth Games team was also satisfying considering she'd just missed out on qualifying for the previous 2014 event in Glasgow.
Having won a bronze medal at the recent Australian trials, Neale is able to contest the 200m freestyle as an individual competitor.
That is exactly what she wanted in addition to the prospect of representing Australia in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
"I was pretty happy to get third to get the opportunity to swim in an individual spot,'' she said.
The former St Mary's College student said it will be her first major competition in an outdoor pool, with no roof over the Gold Coast aquatic venue.
She said having the trials follow the same heat and finals format at the Games was a helpful lead-up competition.
"It was a really good meet . . . good to experience the pool before Commonwealth Games,'' she said. "The team gave us a pretty good vibe.''
Since the Com Games trials, Neale has been busy catching up on her studies at the University of Sunshine Coast where she trains with the Spartans team.