Comm Games in Packard's sights after missing world titles
SWIMMING: Salmonella poisoning spoiled his chances of competing at this week's world championships but Jake Packard's been watching the meet and it's spurred him on.
The 23-year-old is on the comeback trail after being floored by the illness earlier in the year, when he was unable to mount a title defence of the 100m breaststroke at the national trials.
"We just thought it was a bug and I trained through it....but my times kept getting slower and slower," he said.
Blood tests confirmed the bacterial disease was to blame.
But he's since recovered and returned to training and will on Saturday leave for Europe, alongside University of the Sunshine Coast club-mates Mikklayla Sheridan and Chris Raven.
They will compete in a charity event at Rome before swimming in World Cup meets at Berlin and Eindhoven.
For Noosa product Packard it's a good chance to return to serious competition.
"I'm pretty much just trying to enjoy the experience and get back into racing," he said.
"If I end up getting good results it's a bonus."
He's been watching the current world championships from afar.
"It just makes me want to get back in the water and be faster," he said.
"Hopefully, next year when the Comm. Games comes around I get selected for that. Fingers crossed because that would be such an amazing opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd (in Australia).
Packard looms as a genuine threat for the Gold Coast.
He was fifth at the world championships two years ago and he reached the final at the Olympics in Rio last year, when he was also part of the men's 4x100m medley relay team which captured bronze.