Back in business
MELANIE Schlanger has a bronze medal from the Beijing Olympics, but it is not enough.
The 25-year-old finished third in the 100m and 200m freestyle finals at the national championships in 2008, earning her a place in the Olympic relay teams for those events.
She swam the third leg in the 4x100m final in Beijing in 2008, when the Aussies finished third, but was surprisingly left out of the team for the final of the 4x200m relay - Australia taking the gold in world record time.
Illness caused Schlanger's retirement in 2009, but she returned to the pool in 2010 and moved down to the Gold Coast to train with Glen Baker's squad at Southport.
She is well on track for the national championships - which double as the Olympic qualifiers - in Adelaide next month.
The Sunshine Coast product showed the benefit of training under Baker by winning the 100m freestyle final in outstanding style at last month's Victorian state championships in Melbourne.
In a field that included Alicia Coutts and Libby Trickett, Schlanger won easily in a time of 53.87 seconds - the 28th fastest of all time - just shy of her personal best of 53.85.
"It was really pleasing because we're still in the middle of a 30-week block of quite intense work," Schlanger said.
"I've never trained so well or raced so well out of season, so I've really built up some confidence.
"I'm definitely looking to swim a new PB in Adelaide - something in the low 53s."
Schlanger will compete in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle events at this weekend's NSW titles in Sydney.
The carnival is the last opportunity for those looking to make the team for this year's London Olympics to race before the national championships.
After that it comes down to what happens in Adelaide.
"Alicia and Cate Campbell are 53-second swimmers," Schlanger said.
"You don't know how fast Libby will go and you also don't know which of the younger girls will come through.
"But I've got my eye on the prize. I've been in an Olympic relay team, but I want more.
"My major goal is definitely to get an individual spot on the team for London."