NEWCASTLE swimmer Angie Bainbridge is undecided about striving to become a three-time Olympian after collecting a silver medal in London to add to the gold she earned in Beijing.
The 22-year-old from Merewether swam in the heats of the 4x200-metre freestyle relay last week but made way for Alicia Coutts, Melanie Schlanger, Bronte Barratt and Kylie Palmer in the final.
Australia duly finished second behind the United States.
As was the case four years ago in China, Bainbridge did not get to accept her medal on the podium.
It was presented in a special ceremony, in front of her teammates, by former Australian gold medallists Kieren Perkins and Chris Fydler on Saturday night.
Bainbridge will be 26 by the time the Rio de Janeiro Olympics are contested and said she did not want to look that far into the future.
‘‘I don’t know. Four years is a long tim,’’ she said.
‘‘I think I’ll just take it year by year.
‘‘There’s no other way, really. I’ll have a week or so off, and I’m looking forward to that, and then I’ll get myself ready for the world series shortcourse series.
‘‘As for Rio, it’s a bit far off in the future to be thinking about yet.’’
Bainbridge was left with mixed emotions – and a sense of deja vu – after collecting a medal as a heat swimmer.
‘‘I was a bit disappointed because I didn’t swim my best time in the heat,’’ she said.
‘‘I really wanted to swim in the final. But when I came out and watched the girls in the final, and saw them collect the silver, I was happy because I contributed.’’
Australia collected a swag of silver medals in the swimming but only one gold, by the women’s 4x100m relay team.
‘‘There was so much expectation back home and obviously when we swim, our aim is to win,’’ Bainbridge said.
‘‘But it probably comes down to the individual.
‘‘Some people are disappointed with a silver because they were aiming for gold.
‘‘Other people are happy to get a medal of any colour. There are lots of people who go home with no medals at all. It’s such a tough competition.’’
Bainbridge predicted Australia’s swimmers would bounce back from London.
‘‘What these Olympics has shown is how much swimming has moved forward,’’ she said.
‘‘The world has gone to a whole new level. I think that will just give our Aussie swimmers more motivation.
‘‘I suppose there has been a bit of disappointment, but that will be the motivation to do even better in four years’ time.’’
Bainbridge paid tribute to fellow Novocastrian Thomas Fraser-Holmes, who did not win a medal in London but finished seventh in both his individual races and fifth in the 4x200m relay.
‘‘I thought he had an amazing first Olympics,’’ she said.
‘‘He made three finals, and if you think he’s been in three finals and raced against people like Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, that’s fantastic. He’s only 20 and I’m sure he’ll be even better in four years.’’