STEPHANIE Rice is doing the hard work now because she knows this will be the last time.
The triple Olympic gold medallist will start a new phase of her life after the 2012 London Olympic Games and is determined to leave swimming on the same high on which she arrived as a Commonwealth Games champion in 2006.
The 23-year-old superstar fully expects to retire after the London Games and knows it is the work she is doing now that will set her up for a glorious finale.
“I’m just making sure I dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s now so I don’t have regrets later on,” she said.
“I really wouldn’t want to say I’ve quit or will quit after this because you never know what will happen in time, but I don’t see myself swimming for another four years.
Swimming requires so much commitment and dedication and I know if I’m not giving 100 per cent to it I’m not going to get the results I want and I don’t see the point in doing something half-heartedly.”
Rice is all about preparing for the future - setting plans in place early so nothing is left to chance.
It’s why today she will launch Steph’s Swim Squad via the Sun Rice Foods Facebook page, an online training and mentoring program for aspiring swimmers.
As part of the program she will personally mentor 10 young swimmers for a year, but a move into coaching full-time is definitely not on the agenda post-swimming.
“I can’t say I would ever take up swim coaching, I am definitely interested in giving advice and help to people so this is a great opportunity and a way I can do that without having to get up at 5.30am,” she said.
After three years of self-management Rice has re-signed with an agent, joining Titus Day to help handle her hectic schedule and prepare her post-swimming options.
“I know that (swimming) will end probably next year and I’m really looking forward to where Titus can take me beyond swimming,” she said.
But her focus each day is in the pool and being ready for London.
Her troubled shoulder will never be the same again, but Rice is regaining confidence that she can return to the top of the world.
“I didn’t think I’d be able to get down as low (weight and skinfolds) as I was in Beijing because I’m four years older now, a lot has changed, I’m doing a lot more gym so I’m really happy with how everything is going,” she said.