The 34 year old retired after the 2012 Olympics in London but returned to the pool to compete at last year’s Pacific Games in Port Moresby, where he won seven gold medals.
He has since qualified for three events in Rio and said he’s feeling as good as at any point in his career.
“I’m swimming life-time personal bests in quite a few events so that’s a very good indication of where I’m at. 100 butterfly is my main event and that one was just a little slower than what I want it to be so still working on that at the moment and the next couple of weeks will sort of give us a good idea of where we’re at and what last little changes I can do,” he said.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and his wife Carly have become parents since his last Olympic competition and Pini suggested a good balance in life could be the key to his resurgence.
“I hit the wall and look at the time and nearly shake my head in disbelief because the amount of training that I have done previously, in my life before as a younger swimmer, as compared to now is nothing in comparison so just wonder what it is that leads to or contributes to all that but I’ve got a very well-rounded life and a wealth of experience that I’ve got that I know what I can do and what I can’t do and how all that works so I think that plays into a big part of my success at the moment.”
After living in Port Moresby in the lead up to the Pacific Games, Pini is back living in Brisbane as he puts the final touches on his Olympic preparation.
“It was something I had to do to give myself – not so much the facilities because we’ve got great facilities there – but it’s the coaching and the level of athletes that I swim against here pushes me along. Up in PNG at the moment it was very difficult for me to train – it was pretty much myself and two other guys – so it makes a big difference for me coming here and I’ve got a lot of people behind me helping me on my journey.”
Ryan Pini said he will definitely compete in the 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke but another swimmer has equalled the Olympic ‘B’ qualifying time in the 100m freestyle and, if he is selected for Team PNG, he would be willing to give up his own spot in the event in Rio.