Adam Pine.
Adam Pine. The Northern Star

Adam pining for Beijing

SWIMMER Adam Pine can't wait for the day when he can spend more time at his parent's home in Ballina and have a surf at his favourite spot at North Wall.

The former Lismore High School student said he plans to make a decision about his swimming future around Christmas.

But before he can contemplate life in the slower lane, there's one big competition between him and potential retirement - the Beijing Olympics.

At the age of 32, Pine is a shining example that longevity in a sport needn't mean a slow decline into mediocrity.

He qualified for the 100m butterfly at Beijing with a personal best time, finishing in second place behind Southport's Andrew Lauterstein at the Australian championships in Sydney earlier this year.

Beijing will be Pine's third Olympic Games and he's also been to four Commonwealth Games and five World Championships. He's been one of the mainstays of the Australian swimming team for 15 years.

“If you asked me eight years ago, when I was preparing for Sydney, whether I would still be swimming at the Beijing Olympics, I would have said 'no chance',” Pine said.

“But if you look at the big picture, if you spend a long time in the sport, the best way of treating it is that old cliche of one year at a time and sees how things pan out. I'll stay involved in the sport as long as I am enjoying it.”

While he has an Olympic gold and silver medal safely stowed away in his trophy cabinet, Pine's 20th placing at the Athens Olympics four years has been driving him to make amends in Beijing.

“I've learned from every major team I have been on, and every Commonwealth Games, and every Olympic Games. I wasn't hugely happy with my performance in Athens and I'm using that as good motivation,” he said.

Pine's 100m heat swim in Beijing is scheduled for August 13 and he's also hoping to get a relay swim or two.

“There's less than four weeks until I race and I can probably see some light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

“I've had some very long, hard, training sessions and in the build-up to Beijing there will be less endurance training. We'll start to reduce the intensity and then it's just a matter of wrapping yourself up in cotton wool and staying injury free.”

While the Australian women's swimming team is likely to bring home the bulk of the gold medals from Beijing, Pine believes the men could be the surprise packet.

“In the past, the team has been dominated by a couple of stars such as Ian Thorpe and Michael Klim, but this is definitely a new phase,” he said.

“This team won't rely on those individual performances but it is definitely fast, and there is a good mix of experience and youthful enthusiasm.”

Pine's main ambition in Beijing is simply to make the final of his pet 100m butterfly. Anything more than that would be an absolute bonus.

Only then will he be able to contemplate life after swimming and spending more time with his family which includes his wife and two children.

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