The Australian National Championships, aka the green and gold’s Olympic Trials, are set to kick-off in Adelaide on April 7th. The meet is set to be one of the most competitive in the world, with the top men and women vying for the precious few spots on the Rio roster in their respective events.
However, one name that is missing from the psych sheets recently released by Swimming Australia is 2008 Olympic gold medalist Kylie Palmer.
At just 26 years old, Palmer has already had a series of misfortunes, derailing a promising career in the pool. After throwing down her 800 free relay squad’s fastest split to help the group win gold in Beijing, Palmer also contributed to her nation’s silver medal in the same event at the London 2012 Games. She was also instrumental in her squad’s relay wins in Barcelona and Doha at the respective World Championships.
Flash forward to last June, however, when Palmer was surprised by finding that one of her anti-doping samples from the 2013 World Championships had tested positive for a banned substance. Palmer wound up removing herself from the 2015 World Championships roster, undergoing a voluntary suspension, and ultimately accepting FINA’s warning and stripping of her 6th place 200m freestyle finish in Barcelona.
Just a few months after that ordeal subsided, Palmer suffered a deep cut in the webbing between her left thumb and index finger, resulting in surgery in early January. At the time, her coach Chris Mooney stated that “she’s very upbeat and you never count a champion out. We will just be coming from a bit further back than we expected.”
However, The Australian is reporting that Palmer’s wound is worse than originally thought, with surgery revealing that she had cut the tendon to her thumb and would be out for a minimum of eight weeks. In light of this scenario and how quickly the Australian Trials are approaching, she and Coach Mooney opted out of vying for a spot on the Aussie roster for Rio.
“In her mind, if she wasn’t going to get to the meet at close to 100 per cent she wasn’t going to do it,’’ Mooney said. “She’s a professional athlete and she knows what level you need to be at to compete at the nationals.’’
Palmer’s future in the pool is undecided at this point, as she’ll be taking a couple of months off.
The Australian Olympic Trials run April 7th through April 14th at SA Aquatic & Leisure Center.