Packard primed to get his campaign under way
SWIMMING: Jake Packard recognises how difficult it is to get a berth at international meets and now that he's at the Commonwealth Games he hopes to be in the thick of the action.
The 23-year-old will get his campaign under way on Friday after forging his way back from a rough 2017.
He was floored by salmonella poisoning, which cost him any chance of competing at the world championships.
And then there was the cut-throat nature of this year's selection trials.
"Our qualification is pretty hard. If you make qualification you are pretty much top eight in the world, which is pretty good," he said.
"So it gives you a good shot to be in the mix, which is what I'm hoping for."
Now that he's at the Gold Coast, the 23-year-old is ready to unleash.
He'll compete in the 100m breaststroke, the 50m breaststroke and likely the 4x100m medley relay, after impressing at the national championships.
"Everyone would like a medal. It's one of those things where you've just got to get through the heat, semi and then if you're in the final anyone has got a shot in the final."
But Packard is no stranger to big meetings.
He has claimed relay medals at the Rio Olympics and the world championships.
However, this represents his first Commonwealth Games.
And he wrapped himself in cotton wool ahead of the meeting, which is particularly understandable given what he went through last year.
That's meant staying clear of gatherings in fear of catching the flu in the month leading up to the event.
"That was a big no no, big crowds. You've just got to be very selfish," he said.
"It was only a minimal time in our eyes so you've just got to make the most of it and get the optimal performance."
Packard is trained by coach Chris Mooney and is among a host of USC Spartans athletes at the Gold Coast for the Games.