Smith backs fast friend Fraser-Holmes
THEIR unshakeable bond has already helped one man overcome his drug addiction and rise to the pinnacle of his sport.
Now Daniel Smith wants to repay the faith shown in him by Thomas Fraser-Holmes and help his childhood mate return from a 12-month ban to reclaim his place on the Australian Swimming team.
Former Australian team captain Fraser-Homes was slapped with a 12-month ban by international swimming body FINA after missing three drug tests following the Rio Olympics - missing the random visit of testers on one occasion by just minutes after arriving home late from a family dinner.
The Gold Coast resident missed a home Commonwealth Games and has only just returned to training with Michael Bohl at Griffith University, reuniting with Smith.
Fraser-Holmes will compete at the Pan Pacific trials in Adelaide in three weeks and while it's a massive ask for him to make the national team so soon after his return, Smith has no doubt the dual Olympian can eventually return.
"He's my best friend and we've been best friends since we were 11," Smith said.
"I'm 27 now, so we've been good friends for a long time.
"We've had a lot of good times together and we've both been there for each other through each other's comebacks."
When former teen prodigy Smith fought his way back from drug addiction and homelessness to win a place on the Commonwealth Games team in 2014, he credited squadmate Fraser-Holmes for helping his drive to excellence.
And he is determined to repay the favour.
"When I came back, we raced each other for (my first race) and (on Thursday) we got up and raced each other in training for his first race back which was pretty cool," Smith said.
Smith won their time trial - just.
"He's pretty quick though," he said. "He hasn't lost it. He's a good man."
Smith has been through his own tough times in the pool over the past couple of years after representing Australia in the 4x200m freestyle relay with Fraser-Holmes in Glasgow and at the Rio Olympics.
"I've missed the team since Rio now and it's quite humbling," he said.
"Missing the team twice, it's really taught me that swimming's not everything.
"But I've been able to really be solid in who I am through those times.
"Obviously I'm not walking down the path of addiction anymore, so that's probably a massive miracle in itself and I've been pretty thankful for that.
"Swimming for me has been an amazing ride and journey and I really don't feel done yet."
Bohl said having an experienced athlete like Fraser-Holmes join his squad had been good for the group.
And while making the Pan Pacs team may be too big an ask for the 26-year-old, who has not raced since December 2016, he had no doubt Fraser-Holmes and Smith would continue to spur each other on in the lead-up to the 2020 Olympics.
"They're great friends in the pool but they're also great friends outside the pool, so they're really supportive of one another," Bohl said.
"When they do a hard set together, they're always looking across and giving each other a nod and saying 'great job' to each other.
"Having those two guys in together will definitely help each other."
Smith has no doubt the best is ahead for both.
"He's a good leader, good role model for the kids and I'm excited to see what he can do in the pool," he said of Fraser-Holmes.
"It's really just the beginning for him.
"And me too."