Papua New Guinea swimmer Ryan Pini is getting back in the pool in an effort to compete at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist took a break after last year's London Olympics and has stepped into the coaching ranks, assisting the next wave of PNG swimmers at this month's World Champs in Barcelona.
The 31 year old told Vinnie Wylie it was nice to have some time off, but he's ready to get back into it.
RYAN PINI: Since the Beijing Olympics it's been taking it a year at a time, just really trying to get my body through it and making sure that I'm fit and ready and injury-free. I've had four shoulder operations over the last eight, nine years, so it has taken a huge toll. And it's been one of those things were I have to really choose carefully to make sure that I actually can do this, and I feel confident that I can. I've started back in the pool. I've been taking a couple of the swimmers in the morning three times a week, so I jump in there with them and make sure they do all the sessions correctly. And that's just a start at the moment, and hopefully by the next couple of months I'll start back into full-time training and really make a go of it.
VINNIE WYLIE: You've got two years to work your way up to the Pacific Games. And I guess it's a special event, as well, with Port Moresby hosting it. As a Papua New Guinean, is that part of the drive, to be there for your home country tournament?
RYAN PINI: Yeah, I think so. It's one of those things where the Olympics is such a huge big deal, but at the same time the Pacific Games in the home country just feels like it really should be something to compete for and hopefully get some gold medals out of it. It's one of these things, Papua New Guineans very rarely get a chance, even on TV, to see me race, so it'll give them an opportunity to watch me live. And, yeah, that's sort of the main aim. Having two years out to prepare, I'm speaking to Geoff Huegill, who is, of course, one of the famous comeback kids. And his words were pretty much that two years out, a two-year preparation, is exactly what you need. Having anything less than that then it becomes not enough preparation time for your body to adapt and cope with the changes.
VINNIE WYLIE: So would you anticipate that the Pacific Games would be the only major tournament you'd be in from now to then, or are there a couple of targets that you have along the way?
RYAN PINI: I've got a lot of comments coming up that I should take part in the Commonwealth Games and the World Champs and things like that, but I think it's one of those things where I don't want to take part unless my body is 100%. If I'm racing at any less than what I have been previously, then I sort of don't really want to do that. It really depends on how my training goes. I'll do a few minor competitions next year just to get some race practise. If I find myself racing well, then I may see myself at a few other competitions. But I think the Commonwealth Games is a little bit too close.