When the NBA shut down it’s regular season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, I reckon that’s the day it finally hit me – that this global pandemic could no longer be ignored.

It was the same day I also accepted that the chance of the Olympics still proceeding in July were slim to none.

I read Brooke Stratton’s most recent article and like her, stress that my absolute concern right now is for the public safety and wellness of all Australians, including the healthcare and essential workers who are on the frontline, providing assistance to those who have been directly impacted by the coronavirus.

The health and wellness of all Australians – in particular those who have been exposed to the coronavirus or are at high risk of contraction, is where my focus now lies.

Personally, I am doing all I can to be practicing good hygiene and adhere to safe social distancing. Like many Australians, I too am struggling with not being able to see my family and friends in person, but understand the importance of following the national health protocols so that we can all emerge from this safely and as soon as possible.

Speaking strictly on my own personal situation, the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be a minor setback for me.

It has taken a mountain of work, time and development since commencing my Olympic program towards the Japan games, and I can say with absolute certainty that I am in the best shape of my life.

Physically, mentally, emotionally… I have never felt this good before.

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Excuses are just missed opportunities..

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The quality and calibre of the training sessions I was turning in, prior to the total shutdown by Swimming Australia and the national government restrictions… were the kind of training days I have dreamed of having for a very long time.

At every turn in my schedule, I was exceeding the expectations that my coaches and I were putting in place for me.

It was a wonderful feeling and the result of all the work that my entire team and I have been working towards since sitting down together and mapping out how we were going to approach the Tokyo 2020 games.

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While that level of conditioning and build-up confidence won’t be wasted, I was certainly pushing to be where I had hoped to be at this point on the calendar.

And as I said, I didn’t go it alone… the entire time, I’ve been in constant dialogue with my sports biomechanist, performance nutritionist, psychologist, physiotherapist, doctor, gym coach and swimming mentors – everyone has played a part in helping me return to the best shape of my life.

I made sure to allocate time for each of my team members, and hung onto every single word that they had to offer to help me better myself in the pool. But also minimising the distractions and locking down on training.

I’m 21 now, turning 22 in just a couple of months, I am entering the prime years of my career and don’t want to look back thinking could I have done more to maximise my time in the sport.

I’ve also been in the water now for a reasonably long time, I started in 2015 and had a fairly good gauge of what I need to do to be at my best and I’ve learned a lot along the way, so I’ve putting those things into place to strive for greater success.

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So given the clean bill of health and the standards to which I am performing at the minute, it is a frustrating place to be in – what with the changes to the Olympic schedule, but I also understand there are bigger things at play, like I spoke about earlier.

While the NBA season shutting down was when, like a lot of people, I realised I could no longer ignore the conversation anymore – it certainly wasn’t the day I first became acutely aware of what could lie ahead.

Just a few months prior to that, myself and other members of the Australian swim team were actually in Kuala Lumpur for a world meet, and Malaysia at the time were quick to respond to it all after becoming aware of their own health risks.

Our coaching staff were constantly updating us on the situation, as it was difficult not to speculate on whether or not we may be at risk of contracting the virus ourselves.

In the end, I applaud the IOC for making the right decision to postpone the games and for putting global health first and for sending the clear message that it’s important for all of us to get on top of this crisis and do everything we possibly can to keep one another safe during such trying times.

I believe next year, the Olympic games are going to be such a celebration of people, triumph and unity – knowing that we have overcome this together as a global community.

It shapes to be one of the biggest Olympic games the world has ever seen and I couldn’t think of one athlete who would not want to be there should it be safe to do so.

If I manage to qualify then I put myself in a position to really cement myself as one of the greats in the sport. I think I am more motivated now, than I ever have been, to be in the best shape of my life and swimming as fast as I can on route to Tokyo 2021.