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Qualifying just the start for swim pair

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Swimmers Julian Fletcher and Rebecca Heyliger will represent the island at Caribbean Championships in the Bahamas next weekend, looking to fine tune their techniques as they get set to compete in their first Olympic Games in August.

Fletcher will swim in the 100 metres breaststroke where he holds the national record of 1min 02.47sec, while Heyliger has qualified for the 50 metres freestyle.

Both are based in Southern California where they train together.

They don't exactly know what to expect in Rio, but know they will be up against the world's top swimmers.

“I'm definitely looking forward to it, right now my expectation is that it is going to be like Worlds, except one hundred times bigger and better,” Heyliger said.

“I feel like it's going to be the same people that we see at Worlds so as far as the competition I know who is going to be there and where I am compared to them.

“I'm really excited and so happy to be a part of Team Bermuda and to be there to support the other Bermudian athletes.

“My goal is to break the 26 second barrier and right now I'm at 26.1, so if I can dip under 26, 25.99, I'll be happy with that.”

Heyliger, who is considering a move to Europe after the Olympics, is happy with her build-up to the Games.

“It's been going great, I've been out there for six years in the same area, USC at LA,” the 23-year-old said.

“We're leaving on Sunday to go to the Bahamas and we hope to pick up a lot of medals there.”

Fletcher, 25, feels the pressure is off now that he achieved the qualifying standard at the recent National Championships.

“After I made the qualifying time at the National Stadium I'm just going to look at what I can do to drop more time, and try to get the 100 metres record down a little lower,” he said.

“I've been training at the highest level, competed at the Commonwealth Games and reached the semi-finals at the Pan Am Games, so I think going into the Olympic Games it's going to be very similar to those international competitions.

“As an athlete from a small country the expectations are very high, but I'm hoping to try to exceed people's expectations and hopefully come back with the Bermuda record.

“I think I'm the type of athlete who thrives better under pressure and in the spotlight so we'll see how I do in Rio.

“Right now I'm taking it day-by-day and looking forward to the Caribbean Island Championships in Bahamas.

Now the time has been achieved the pressure is off.

“Rebecca and I train with the same club, a postgraduate swim club who has a lot of Olympians, so we'll have some Olympic medallists on our squad.

“Training out there definitely helps with the nerves, there are four or five guys I train with in the breaststroke events who are ranked in the top 50 in the world.

“They have a good shot at making a final or earning a medal at the Olympics. “That I can train with them helps.”

Said Heyliger: “It isn't about just qualifying, but doing my best when I get there in Rio.”

Great expectations: Fletcher understands that he is under pressure to perform in Brazil (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Really excited: Heyliger looking forward to pitting herself against the world's best (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published June 24, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 24, 2016 at 7:35 am)

Qualifying just the start for swim pair

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