Moment of truth
WITH his legal dramas finally behind him, Nick D'Arcy is a veritable ball of positivity as he embarks on one of the most important weeks of his young, turbulent life.
Kicked off the 2008 Beijing Olympic team for assaulting ex-swimming star Simon Cowley, the Sunshine Coast swimmer takes the next step towards possible redemption when he competes in the 50m butterfly heats at the London Olympic trials in Adelaide today.
D'Arcy, who says he could not feel better physically and mentally, is using the 50m fly to "clear out the nerves" ahead of the 100m and 200m butterfly - the latter being his pet event and best chance of making the 2012 Games team.
"Yeah, I am (feeling good)," he said yesterday.
"It's the Olympic trials. There's no more training now, so there's nothing to do except swim."
D'Arcy is the 200m butterfly national record-holder and is favourite to win the final of that event on Sunday night.
He was scheduled to swim the 200m fly at Beijing - which would have been his first Games - until he shattered Cowley's face with an elbow on a boozy night out to celebrate his Olympic team selection.
The world No.7 knows that if he swims his best at the trials, which are also the Australian championships, it is almost certain he will be heading to London in four months.
Surely at the back of the 24-year-old's mind, however, is his disastrous performance at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, where he was the overwhelming favourite to win the 200m fly but bombed out in the heats.
Countering that negative memory would be the mental image of his victory over the great American Michael Phelps at a US meet last year.
Whatever is going on in his mind, D'Arcy is refusing to entertain negativity - at least not outwardly.
"This is probably the best preparation I've had in a long time," he said.
"To be able to come into a preparation without injury or illness is always a bonus, so I think I'm in a pretty good spot."