Lani Pallister Among 8 Swimmers Positive for COVID, Out of 800 FR Final


COVID-19 has found its way onto the pool deck of the 2022 FINA World Championships.

Rumors about a potential outbreak have been floating around all week as we’ve seen many swimmers pull out of their events suddenly. (Stay tuned for our full injury and illness report after the meet wraps up.) But it’s become much more than a rumor, as FINA confirmed to News Corp on June 23 that eight swimmers so far have tested positive for COVID.

While FINA will not release the names or nationalities of the swimmers, Australian team officials have confirmed that one of the swimmers is rising distance star Lani Pallister. News Corp also reported that an Australian team official has also tested positive and is in isolation.

According to the report, Pallister “had no idea that she had contracted COVID when she swam in the 800m heats on Thursday, but felt an itch in her throat when she got back to her hotel so she decided to test herself.”

Testing positive means she’ll be in isolation for six days. That means she is out of the 800 free final, where she was the #2 seed, posting 8:24.66 in prelims.

This explains why the Australian contingent at Worlds was suddenly masked in the stands during Day 6 finals. They’ve been “ordered” to mask and report any symptoms. Not many people (swimmers or otherwise) have been wearing masks in the arena, with the Chinese team being the notable exception.

Per FINA’s COVID protocols, masks are optional after returning a negative PCR and antigen test upon arrival. FINA also does not require isolation for close contacts, as long as those close contacts are vaccinated. FINA did not require vaccines for credentialing and these rules apply only to credentialed individuals, not spectators.

Earlier in the meet, Pallister won bronze in the 1500 free behind Katie Ledecky and Katie GrimesHer time of 15:48.96 was a new personal best by about six seconds. It was a strong rebound for the youngster, who beforehand had missed the podium in the 400 free by .08 seconds. This World Championships is Pallister’s first senior international meet.

The six day isolation also means that Pallister won’t travel to Barcelona with the Australian team on Sunday. However, the Australian open water team has just arrived in Budapest—with Pallister’s mother as one of the coaches. Once the open water events finish, “they will all travel together to France to join the rest of the team for the final training camp before next month’s Commonwealth Games.”

With Pallister withdrawing from the final, Brazil’s Viviane Jungblut will get a second swim.

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10 days ago

That FINA statement is somewhat vague on the context of the numbers. Is that 8 “since the meet started”? 8 since arriving to Budapest? 8 that were entered (and some never eventually made it to Budapest)? Does the 8 include people like Deplano who’s already competing again?

10 days ago

I note several minus clicks connected to statements wishing Lani well – what kind of people are you? .Please identify yourself?

Awsi Dooger
10 days ago

Real genius to stop wearing masks. Anyone who didn’t understand the inevitability is clueless toward normal distribution. It was who, not if.

Bruce Lawrie
10 days ago

Much respect to Lani, for her amazing swims.
Wishing her a good recovery – she will return – Lani is a star!

10 days ago

First of all this is of course very bad news for the competition. You always want the best athletes to compete. At the same time this opens up the door for someone to steal a bronze behind Ledecky and Smith. This might be a once in a lifetime chance for someone like Gose, who already missed a huge chance in the 400 free.

10 days ago

The only sensible decision that could be made under the circumstances.

Whilst disappointing that she didn’t get to swim the 800 final; her senior team debut has to be marked a Pass with Distinction, not only for her results but for the impressive maturity and composure than has accompanied those swims.

Best wishes for a trouble free recovery

10 days ago

What percentage of Covid positives at this event have had vaccines? I’d love to know.

Reply to  Snarky
10 days ago

About as often as two things that don’t have much to do with each other happen by random chance

So about 50/50

It mainly lessens disease effects, not whether you catch it or not

Paul Thomas
Reply to  Teddy
10 days ago

Vaccines certainly reduce the rate of contracting the disease too, just not as dramatically as they do for heavy symptoms.

Reply to  Snarky
10 days ago

All the Aussies have

Reply to  Snarky
10 days ago

All of them

10 days ago

8:24 has got to be a covid positive world record. get some rest and binge watch a few shows

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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