Tom Shields Heads Home from Austin PSS Citing Back and Health Concerns

Torrey Hart
by Torrey Hart 10

January 12th, 2018 News


Following an off performance at the Austin Pro Swim Series stop on Thursday (1:00.62 100 fly), Tom Shields posted on Instagram early Friday that he’s back home in Berkeley, California, getting treatment for a back issue:

Big thanks to #innersport for always sneaking me in and helping when I am in need. Something up with the back, flew home to figure it out #unshaveduntapered #uninshape

A post shared by Tom Shields (@beefytshields) on

In a statement to SwimSwam, he clarified that he’s also been recovering from a couple of long-needed surgeries and is beat-up coming out of training camp:

“I don’t like blaming performances on extraneous circumstances, especially not two meets in a row, once in Beijing and now here in Austin. It’s no secret that winters have done me in in the past. I am on the mend from health related surgeries I’ve been needing for awhile (deviated septum, tonsillectomy, etc). I probably jumped back into it a little too quickly, and my back was hurting from that, and admittedly not taking good care of myself while at camp. I got great help from the great USA Swimming Med staff there in Austin, but I felt I needed to get out of the way of the people actually racing once we decided I should not continue. Please don’t pay too much attention to me and keep the focus on the guys and girls racing there still! I’m home getting work done with Jess and Peter of Innersport Chiropractic in Berkeley. Will be back rolling real soon in Atlanta.”

Besides yesterday’s 100 fly (and 4×100 mixed medley relay where he was replaced by Nic Fink), Shields was scheduled to swim the 200 free, 200 fly, 100 free, and 50 fly.

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10 Comments on "Tom Shields Heads Home from Austin PSS Citing Back and Health Concerns"

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Seems like people wanted to criticize quickly instead of waiting for the whole story……but, alas, that is how the internet plays.


Seemed a lot people just wanted to be the first to make a piano joke.

Justin Thompson

I’m surprised he was able to withstand so many pianos before getting hurt. 🎹


Still critical here. He should know his body better and not embarrass himself and his sponsors.


I have spondylosis and I can assure you that the pain i get in my lower back is very sporadic. Sometimes i can go to practice and feel great, while other times i can’t even fall asleep because I can’t find a comfortable position.

Back issues are always inconsistent. They can have no issue one day and make it nearly impossible to walk the next. He stated he wasn’t taking good care of himself at camp and got in too quickly after the surgeries, that seems like decent body awareness. As long as he shows up and does decently well at the National championship meets his sponsors will be happy. I doubt they are too concerned with this meet and would rather see him healthy and performing well

get well soon!

I know cupping can be good therapy for swimmers but I just don’t want to look at it. Ew

I want to see some science regarding cupping. From what ive read it’s bogus.

Isn’t it supposed to act in a way similar to a massage in terms of recovery?

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majors in Media Studies and American Studies at Claremont McKenna College. When she's not writing about swimming or baseball, you can probably find her listening to a podcast or in a pool ... and/or watching Seinfeld, which she just realized is funny.

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