Larkin: I want to get back to the old me
FORMER dual world champion backstroker Mitch Larkin says he has to swim "angry" at this week's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games swim trials in a bid to reclaim his Midas touch.
It may be easier said than done.
Bespectacled and mild mannered, the likeable engineering student doesn't look like he has a dark side.
Previous efforts to fire up arguably Australian swimming's nicest guy have not exactly been effective.
"A (former) coach used to say 'pretend I have got your mother by the neck'," Larkin, 24, laughed.
"I was like 'I am not going to swim if you have got my mum'."
But mention his results since his breakthrough 2015 world titles and Larkin suddenly sees red.
"I am a bit disappointed. It is not a true representation of how I train or me as an athlete," Larkin said.
"I want to get back to the old me. I think this meet and Commonwealth Games is a good place to start."
Larkin made the shock call to leave renowned coach Michael Bohl after winning the 100m-200m backstroke double at the 2015 world titles and earning FINA Male Swimmer of the Year honours.
His form has never been the same.
As raging favourite Larkin missed the Rio Olympic 100m backstroke podium and had to be content with 200m silver.
Last year was even more frustrating.
After linking with the world-beating Campbell sisters' coach Simon Cusack, Larkin again didn't earn a 100m medal and missed the 200m final altogether in a horror world title defence in Budapest.
But Larkin believed he had found the right way to get angry under brutally honest new mentor Dean Boxall.
"He reminds me of the good and the bad things I have done - that fires me up enough," he said.
"He reminds of my (botched 100m backstroke) finish at Rio 2016 and says 'that might be why you got fourth'.
"He mentions those moments that have stuck with me and pull at my heartstrings a little bit."
Larkin has added the medley events to his Games trials program "for fun" but his focus is still the backstroke double.
Heats and finals for the 100m backstroke will be held at the four-day trials' opening day on Wednesday.