The Australian National Team, a month ahead of their World Championship Trials in four weeks, have been hit with a strain of injuries an illnesses that have really depleted many of the team’s stars. It began with Nick D’Arcy’s ankle surgery, then Eamon Sullivan learned he had broken his heel upon return from a training trip from Mexico.
Now, it has been revealed by The Australian that Emily Seebohm, who was expected to be the star of the Australian team in Shanghai, has been stuck out of the water for the last three weeks while battling what has been confirmed as a case of H1N1: more commonly known as “Swine Flu”. Shortly after competing in the New South Wales Championships at the beginning of February, Seebohm knew something was wrong. She was going through flashes of hot and cold sweats, and was also suffering from headaches.
After visiting a doctor, who initially suspected pneumonia, it was confirmed that she was positive for a new strain of Swine Flu that is different than the one that terrorized the United States in 2009 and kept Kate Ziegler from qualifying for the Rome World Championships.
Though Seebohm was back in the water this week, and expects to be able to compete at Australia’s World Championship Trials, she told The Australian that she will probably have to temper expectations and scale back her far-reaching schedule at Trials. Her coach Matt Brown, who showed similar symptoms along with six of her teammates at the Brothers club, indicated that beyond the 100 back, no event was certain on her schedule. “The (100m) backstroke is always the priority but with everything else, we will wait and see how she bounces back,” he said.
The former World-Record holder Sullivan is out for April’s trials, though he could be healthy in time to earn a relay spot-Australian head Leigh Nogent introduced a new rule that will award final relay spots in a trial at the end of July. This rule was originally targeted at recently un-retired Libby Trickett who will not have been back in the drug testing pool long enough to compete at the World Championship Trials, but it could benefit Sullivan as well. D’Arcy was also expected to hit the water this week for the first time since his surgery, with hopes of being able to tough-out a grueling 200 fly qualification on only four weeks’ training.
Australia had a hectic 2010 season, between a loaded meet schedule and the various ails that resulted from their travel to the Commonwealth Games. This season, many members of the National Team have had their training disrupted by the devastating floods that have wrenched the nation. These injuries are the last thing that they need headed towards Shanghai, though the good news is that the Australian team is absolutely loaded in their youth ranks, so this could be a good opportunity to give the future of the program some valuable international experience.