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Delhi CWG show makes Aussie swimmer a star

She went to Delhi in anonymity but five medals at the Commonwealth Games have made swimmer Alicia Coutts a household name in Australia now.

other Updated: Oct 16, 2010 12:38 IST

She went to Delhi in anonymity but five medals at the Commonwealth Games have made swimmer Alicia Coutts a household name in Australia now.

The 23-year-old returned to the country on Saturday along with the rest of the over 500-strong Australian contingent to a warm reception from none other then the Prime Minister of the country Julia Gillard.

Coutts, who won three individual and two relay gold medals in Delhi, had no sponsors before the Games and even thought of quitting following an abdominal surgery just after the Beijing Olympics.

"I actually didn't know if I wanted to swim any more. I always had in the back of my mind, 'Will I ever be back to where I was?' I've definitely got over that," she told 'The Sydney Morning Herald.'

"My dad said to me he knew I was going to be a good swimmer right from the word go. He told me, 'You'll go to the Olympics one day.' Now I'm getting better and proving that I can be as good as he thought I was going to be," Coutts says.

Alicia's father Gary, also a swimmer, died when she was only six months old and she pursued the sport for him.

"I actually had my first ever swimming carnival when I was seven on the day my dad actually died. He died in the morning, and the carnival was in the afternoon, and my mum said, 'You're not going to go.'

"But I said, 'I have to go, I have to go and swim for Dad,' so my grandparents took me, and I swam and I won all my races," he said.

Coutts now wants to get fitter for the 2012 London Olympics.

"I definitely want to try and get fitter and thinner and stronger," she says.

The swimmer said she surprised herself with her performance in Delhi.

"I wasn't expecting to go that fast. I'm one of those people who doesn't go into anything expecting something. I like to go in, see what I can do and see what happens. I know there'll be expectation but I will still approach things the same way I have."