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Shayna Jack decides against Sydney move with Campbell sisters

by ZwemZa on September 18th, 2018

Shayna Jack has opted not to follow coach Simon Cusack and the Campbell sisters to Sydney. Picture: Liam Kidston

Relay world-record holder Shayna Jack admits she likes certainty in her life and was initially afraid that the loss of her training partners Cate and Bronte Campbell to Sydney could derail her swimming. But she now believes a new and even more exciting chapter is about to open in her career.

Jack, who joined the Campbell sisters and Emma McKeon to set a world record for the 4x100m freestyle relay at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April, has opted not to follow her coach Simon Cusack when he moves to Sydney’s north shore to open a high-performance hub based around Pymble Ladies College and Knox Grammar.

“I was given the opportunity to go too, but I decided not,” Jack, 19, told The Australian yesterday. “I’m young and I’ve got the opportunity to explore what works and doesn’t work for me. Simon is a great coach and Cate and Bronte have been great to train with but I had to look at the fact that Sydney was not the best environment for me personally. I don’t have much down there. I would have only been going for my coach and my swimming career.

“Bronte messaged me today and said she would always be there for me as a mentor. I just knew I had made the right decision. I’ve never lived out of home yet, so moving to Sydney would be a very big ask.”

Over the next four weeks Jack intends to “trial” two of the best programs in the country — one run by Michael Bohl, the other by Dean Boxall — to determine which one suits her best. And if at some point in the future she realises that neither program is for her, Cusack has made it clear she can still join him in Sydney.

Cusack admitted it had been difficult for both of them to part company and he admitted that Jack had been uncomfortable telling him she would not be heading south to join his program.

“She was a bit worried about what I was going to say,” Cusack said. “I said you are not beholden to me, you or your swimming ­career. You can be very proud of what you and I have been able to achieve together. I think she has a bright future if she is well managed and she sinks her teeth into wherever she ends up.”

That’s precisely what Jack has in mind. Indeed, when told that Bohl was contemplating expanding her 200m freestyle — an event that Cusack had been grooming her for but then was forced to back off her training when she was hit by problems with her immune system — she was cautiously excited.

“I’m not a big fan of the 200m,” she said. “It is very hard to race mentally. That’s probably the biggest challenge I have, how to swim it mentally and that’s something I have to overcome. So if he (Bohl) has a plan and he thinks that we can work together to make it happen, then I’m all for it. I’m never going to turn it down. It’s always an opportunity to make the (4x200m freestyle) relay team or an individual spot on the Australian team.”

That event has become more attractive than ever following the Pan Pacs meeting in Tokyo last month when Australia upset the Americans to win gold.

Jack could find herself right in the thick of competition for spots, with Bohl’s squad including two key members of the winning relay team, Emma McKeon and Maddie Groves.

Boxall’s squad also has another relay member for Jack to train alongside, rising middle-distance champion Ariarne Titmus.

Wayne Smith | The Australian

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