Melissa Ingram aims for London
Absolute Insurance supported swimmer Melissa Ingram's article in the Fairfax News
Swimming's senior pro Melissa Ingram knows that patience is a virtue.
The 26-year-old will have to wait for the penultimate individual race on the final night of the six-day New Zealand championships for her signature event, the 200m backstroke.
A long buildup has her buoyed with confidence for the meet, starting today at the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Henderson, which doubles as the Olympic trials.
Ingram, coached by Scott Talbot, has already gone under the qualifying time for London in the 200m backstroke, but that is not all that is in her sights this week.
"The 200m backstroke is always at the end. I definitely have to make sure I stay focused throughout the meet, but I've got a few key races earlier in the week. I am going to have a crack at the 100m backstroke and the 200m freestyle as well," Ingram said.
She faces the 100m backstroke tomorrow, where her best is only 0.1sec outside the qualifying mark for London, while she is also keen to snare a place among the fastest four in the 200m freestyle to secure a spot in the women's 4x200m, relay team, who have already qualified for London.
"It has been a really long, solid buildup over about eight months. I have had a couple of stints of competition so I am really excited to finally have a full taper and hit out at nationals.
"It has been really good. I have remained illness and injury free so I have put in a lot of hard training. So now it's a matter of resting up and maintaining technique, working on good skills and hoping that it all comes together." Ingram has learned to be patient and persistent through the ups and downs of a long international career that stretches back over a decade, beginning when she was a finalist in the 200m backstroke at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
She missed out on selection to the 2004 Athens Olympics, but won a medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 and qualified for Beijing in 2008. Now she has London in her sights, meeting the qualifying standard at last year's world championships.
"It is a bit of a security blanket in a way but also I am not complacent. There are some up-and-comers who can obviously knock me off so I am attacking it like any other trials really."