Swimming Australia has cancelled their elite Canberra Grand Prix that was scheduled this week, after an outbreak of whooping cough in two water polo players who train at the Australian Institute of Sport.
This meet was expected to be the final preparation meet for the majority of the Australian Team, in addition to being a chance for the Aussies to wrap up relay preparations ahead of convening a training camp in Manchester, England in mid-July. Among the names entered included superstar Stephanie Rice, James Magnussen, and Leisel Jones, along with the majority of the Australian National Team.
“We have spoken with the AIS and, whilst we are comfortable with the procedures they have put in place, we have decided to take this precaution,” head coach Leigh Nugent said.
“Originally we’d planned to have this camp as an opportunity to come together for some further relay preparation and the chance for some of the athletes to race and time trial, a month or so out from the Games. From a relay perspective we are confident we’re on track with our preparations and will fine tune things when we get to Manchester in July. As for the racing side of things, I’m sure the individual coaches will arrange time trials if they see fit to replicate that preparation.”
Whooping cough is a potentially deadly disease that most are vaccinated against at a very young age. The vaccination does not provide lifelong protection; most healthy adults, however, see a full recovery. Still, the effects of Pertussis (its formal name) can last for months. Given Swimming Australia’s history with freak illnesses and injuries, especially right before big meets, keeping athletes away from Canberra was a worthwhile effort.