Friday, 10 February 2012
Stephanie Rice has revealed her frustrations over the shoulder injury that has her London preparations under a cloud, saying she wouldn't be swimming if the Olympics weren't looming.
Rice returned to competition at the NSW championships in Sydney on Friday for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery in December to repair a torn tendon in her right shoulder.
The 23-year-old was pleased with a solid swim in the 400m individual medley heats, clocking 4 minutes and 49.93 seconds to qualifying third fastest for Friday night's final.
Rice might drop out of the meet after the event as she continues to manage her troublesome injury in the lead-up to next month's Olympic trials in Adelaide from March 15.
She hinted at regrets over having her shoulder operated on, saying she still felt varying levels of pain when training and racing.
"I'm just trying to manage it as best as I can," Rice said.
"When I tore the tendon, they can't repair the tendon because it's a six-month rehab, so I obviously didn't have time for that.
"They just basically went in and cleaned it up as best as they could and I don't know if that was the best option to have surgery right now because it didn't really do anything.
"But I had a cortisone (injection) a few weeks ago and that really seems to have settled it down a bit ... hopefully, it would hold together for these last couple of weeks before the Olympic trials."
Rice claimed three gold medals in a brilliant display at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after what she described as a perfect preparation.
The build-up to London has been anything but and Rice said only the drive of competing at London was keeping her going.
"I think if this wasn't an Olympic year, I would have pulled out of the year because it's just been the most frustrating journey," she said.
"I guess everything I'm doing right now is hopefully making my character stronger.
"It's been very frustrating, especially in an Olympic year, the most exciting year of everything and I'm just trying to do everything I can to get myself on the team."
Rice, who is undecided if she will continue swimming beyond London, said she was determined not to let the frustrations cruel her London hopes.
"I think I'm past the point of being worried," she said.
"I can't really change anything that's happened. I'm just trying to deal with the situation as best as I possibly can."