MACKAY'S Matt Swann has credited his parents for his selection in Australia's Olympic men's hockey team after a 16-man squad was announced in Perth yesterday.
Despite missing the Kookaburras' recent four-Test series against Korea with injury, Swann was always expected to be included in the side when it was announced.
The Mackay junior player has been an instrumental figure under coach Ric Charlesworth over the past three years.
He told The Daily Mercury his selection meant a great deal to him.
"I've been playing hockey my whole life and it's been a dream to go the Olympic Games," he said.
"To be finally named in the side means I've got the possibility I will play in my first Olympics."
Swann said playing under Charlesworth had allowed his game to continually improve.
"Anyone who knows Ric knows he's a very technical and thought-processed man and he is never satisfied with what is achieved.
"He is always striving for bigger and better things and he knows that he can get more out of the squad and more improvement out of players," he said.
"He's one of those guys who is always pushing and striving and never allows any result to be considered a perfect game.
"He always wants to improve.
"He looks critically at games and sees areas on where we can improve, even if we may have dominated our opposition on the day, or for 65 minutes, he'll say 'what happened in those final five minutes, where we went off our game?'"
Swann considered men's hockey heavyweights Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Pakistan and Britain as his side's main rivals at the Olympics.
He said he had had many influences on his career, including his parents, David and Sue, who still reside in Mackay, and former coach Danny Mayfield.
Having started playing at age six, Swann said it wasn't until he was 16 that he considered pursuing the sport at a higher level.
The Kookaburras will finalise their Olympic campaign with a series against New Zealand in Cairns from June 19-26.
It is expected Swann should be fully fit when he arrives in London for the Kookaburras' Olympic campaign.