Gold Coast was good but Jake's keen to be faster at Pan Pacs
SWIMMING: Commonwealth Games relay gold medallist Jake Packard is optimistic he can be quicker at the Pan Pacific Championships at Tokyo in August.
The 23-year-old is back at training following a largely successful meet on the Gold Coast, where he was part of Australia's victorious 4x100m medley team.
Packard clocked 59.28sec for his breaststroke leg, following a fourth placing in the individual event there, where he recorded 59.70sec.
He hopes to be even faster at the next major meet.
"We all like to swim as fast as we can always but sometimes it just doesn't happen and I'm glad to be sub-60 (seconds) which is a hard task to do," he said.
"But we're always looking for improvements every time we swim.
"The main goal is to be on the team (for Pan Pacs) and to put the work in now and I'm pretty confident that I will swim quicker than (at) Comm Games ... we're regarding it a lot higher and the qualifying times are a lot faster than the Commonwealth Games team so fingers crossed we do so."
The trials will be held at Adelaide in July.
The men's breaststroke field at the Gold Coast was world class and it's expected to be just as strong at the Pan Pacs in Japan.
"The competition in my event has skyrocketed since Rio," he said.
"I guess (Olympic champion) Adam Peaty has changed the whole technique of breaststroke and and everyone's eager to get the best of themselves, so it's great competition and I can't wait to hopefully be on the international stage again."
The University of the Sunshine Coast swimmer was also fourth over the 50m sprint distance (27.53sec) at the Gold Coast.
That he was able to compete there, and compete well, was something in itself given his trials of 2017, when he suffered from salmonella poisoning.
"Where I saw myself 12 months ago, I didn't think that I would have expected to be where I am today so to be on the team (and) to have a great performance - and it's a stepping stone for later in the year and for years to come - I couldn't be happier," he said.
The University of the Sunshine Coast staged a welcome home ceremony yesterday for its 17 athletes who competed at the Gold Coast.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill congratulated the USC-based athletes and coaching and support staff who took part in the Games during a special event at the USC Art Gallery.
It was hosted by USC's High Performance Student Athlete program.
The athletes included nine USC Spartans swimmers, four Sunshine Coast Lightning netballers, three Australian Cycling Academy cyclists and a USC student who swims with another local club.
Between them, they snared 12 medals, comprising five gold, three silver and four bronze.
Professor Hill said it was wonderful to watch the outstanding performances of the USC-based athletes during the Commonwealth Games.
He said their efforts were a source of pride for the university community, the Sunshine Coast and for Australia.
The Spartans have emerged as one of the dominant swim clubs in the country during the past few seasons.