A bronzed and rejuvenated Joanne Malar appeared on the World Cup circuit in Glasgow. Excited after her training experiences in Australia in December and January, she said, "People made a big deal over nothing when I decided to go to Australia, but I know it was the right thing to do. It really helped me, and I had so much fun."
Malar left Canada after her fall term exams in
mid-December and spent time training in Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, and
Gold Coast before returning to the Australian Institute of Sport for a final
six days. She went with no specific agenda, saying, "I just did their
program wherever I went and I fit in pretty well everywhere. It really teaches
you how to adapt." Her sister Theresa travelled with her, which made
celebrating Christmas away from her family a little easier.
"I just needed a break, to do something different
and experience some new things," said Malar. "I had always wanted
to go to Australia. Just staying at home all the time can be monotonous.
Gaye (Stratten) is so happy to see me excited about swimming again."
But Malar admits that the greatest lesson of the
trip was to be reminded of the merits of her home environment.
"I missed my team so much. I love my team!"
she said. "I learned that you don't realize what you have until you
go away, and I don't need to go away again."
"Nobody trains that drastically different
from what I'm used to," she went on, "and it was good to realize
Malar came to the World Cup to get back into competition.
"I'm just here to race and have fun."
And race she did, claiming her share of the medals. Starting in Glasgow, Malar was second in both the 200 (2:13.13) and 400 (4:42.27) individual medleys. Germany was the toughest and she took a bronze in the 400 IM (4:39.99). In Imperia she had a what Dave Johnson called a "terrific" 200 freestyle (1:59.10 a best time) and was third in the 400 IM (4:40.91). In Paris, staying strong and consistent, she was third in the 200 free (1:59.72) and second in the 400 IM (4:40.49).