Brett Fraser is set to carry on the Olympic tradition shared by him and his brother, Shaune, when he hits the pool in Tokyo, Japan this month for what will be his third Games.
Fraser, 31, is scheduled to compete in the 50-metre free, an event in which he holds the national record with a time of 22.41 seconds.
The 2011 Pan American Games gold medallist qualified for the flagship event in January of last year at the International Challenge Meet in Geneva, where he clocked 22.54.
“I’m very excited for Tokyo,” Fraser told the Cayman Compass. “Given that this is my third, I’m really thrilled. Although it will happen in a reduced format, I think [it will] still be as special.”
The 29th Summer Olympics will feature a reduction in participants as many countries have pulled out of this year’s Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Fraser believes he will still have his work cut out for him as he will be competing against swimming powerhouses.
“I still think this Olympics will be competitive as ever,” he said. “You have countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, China; they are still going to have their best athletes representing… so I think the competition is still going to be very tight.”
In his previous Olympic Games, in 2008 and 2012, Fraser competed in the 200m backstroke, and the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle events. He took a break from competition in 2016. This year, however, Fraser has trained solely for the 50m, under Wolfpack Elite at North Carolina State University, an event he said is his bread and butter.
“[Wolfpack] have a renowned sprint programme,” said Fraser. “So, this time around it was a lot more strength training, a lot more… relevant training in the water.”
Fraser will join four teammates in Tokyo, one of whom – 15-year-old Jillian Crooks – is set to make her Olympic debut in swimming. He said the competition will benefit Crooks, should she continue her swimming career.
“I remember when I went to Beijing in 2008, I had just turned 18 and it was a great experience, and for Jillian, I think it is going to expose her to the world at the highest level of competition that there is,” he said. “I think it will really motivate her to come back to any other international sporting event and put her best foot forward. I am thrilled to have her on the team and I’m excited to share the Olympic experience with her.”
Fraser is expected to leave for Tokyo on Saturday, 18 July.