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London 2012: Australian swimmers disrupted by whooping cough outbreak

The contagious disease has laid low many pool based athletes in Canberra, but the squad remain on course to arrive in England on July 14.

100m world champion, James Magnussen.
100m world champion, James Magnussen.
Image: Wong Maye-E/AP/Press Association Images

THE AUSTRALIAN SWIM team’s Olympic preparations were dealt a blow today when their final warm-up was called off after two water polo players and a coach contracted whooping cough.

The women’s water polo team was placed in isolation in Canberra as a precaution and a scheduled meet at the Australian Institute of Sport pool on Friday and Saturday was abandoned.

“The water polo team is in camp at the AIS and has been placed in isolation to mitigate the risk of infection for athletes, staff and the public,” the AIS said on its website.

Swimming Australia head coach Leigh Nugent said he was not too concerned.

“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,” he said of the meet cancellation.

“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.”

The swim team will next assemble for a camp in Manchester from July 14 before heading to London on July 22.

The squad is spearheaded by 100m freestyle world champion James Magnussen, defending Olympic 200/400m individual medley champion Stephanie Rice, breaststroker Brenton Rickard and butterflyer Jessicah Schipper.

- © AFP, 2012

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