Swimming: Aussie meet cancelled by whooping cough

Australian swim team coach Leigh Nugent. Photo / Getty Images.
Australian swim team coach Leigh Nugent. Photo / Getty Images.

The Australian swim team's final Olympic warm-up meet in Canberra has been cancelled after two members of the women's water polo and a coach contracted whooping cough.

Swimming Australia called off the meet scheduled for the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) pool on Friday and Saturday as a precaution to ensure their swimmers stayed healthy for the London Olympics next month.

The AIS said the women's water polo team had been placed in isolation in Canberra after two team members and a coach were diagnosed with whooping cough.

All members of the team had been tested for the illness, although medical advice was that most Australians were unlikely to contract it as it is a standard childhood immunisation.

The cancellation of the swim meet is a blow to the Australian swim team, which contains numerous Olympic gold medal contenders, as it was to be a final competitive hit out before departing for the Games.

Swimmers will stay in their home states to prepare before the first group heads to Europe next week.

"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,'' said swim team coach Leigh Nugent.

"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 AIS said in a statement it was treating the whooping cough outbreak "very seriously'' and would continue to work closely with AIS health professionals and ACT Health to reduce any potential risk.

"We are informing all sports visiting the AIS of the infection and any decision to continue their immediate preparations at the AIS are for each individual sport to make,'' said the AIS.

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