Australian swimmers formally told to avoid 'risky' activities such as surfing and horse riding

Australian Swimming Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren. Photo / Getty
Australian Swimming Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren. Photo / Getty

Australia's Olympic swim team have been formally told to avoid "risky" activities between now and Rio, although sometimes the biggest dangers are found where you least expect it.

Head coach Jacco Verhaeren confirmed on Tuesday all swimmers had been urged to cease any sport that could lead to injury with activities such as surfing, horse riding and even beach football considered too risky for our Olympians with just 100 days to go until Rio.

But the biggest threat almost emerged in the most unlikely circumstances last week when Australia's richest woman Gina Rinehart flew a handful of our best gold medal contenders to Uluru for an exclusive 'dinner under the stars' gathering.

World champions Mitch Larkin, Bronte Campbell and Emily Seebohm plus current world No.1s Cate Campbell, Mack Horton and Cameron McEvoy were all aboard a private jet with Swimming Australia president John Bertrand and Verhaeren that became stranded for three hours at Coober Pedy.

The plane was landing to refuel but the front tyre blew out at the end of the runway.
The pilot told swimmers it was only the third time he'd burst a tyre in 36 years and had it occurred seconds earlier when the plane was landing at full speed they could've nose-dived into the tarmac.

"At the time it was not scary at all, we had no idea what was happening," McEvoy said.
"We were fine but then the pilot started panicking.

"He said this has happened only three times in my career and he has been flying for years and years.

"You can look at it as being pretty special being part of that but also pretty scary what could've happened if that had of happened straight away upon landing."

Verhaeren said it was a reminder that anything can happen at any time and athletes needed to be aware to reduce risk of injury in their lives between now and the Olympics.

"It wasn't that bad," Verhaeren said.

"When we landed after a couple of hundred metres the plane started shaking a bit and that was obviously a flat tyre.

"I wouldn't say it was that dramatic, but I'm definitely not used to something like that.

"We're happy it worked out well that most definitely it's not something you want to happen.

"What we spoke about at the orientation camp straight after trials is that what you see is most injuries usually don't happen in the pool.

"We definitely want to minimise risk in your daily life without becoming paranoid.

"You can only control yourself ... avoid the high risk activities whether it is playing a bit of footy on the beach or things like that, those things are definitely a no go."

Last year Seebohm was lucky to escape without serious injury after she dislocated her knee in the lead up to the world titles while riding her horse, while teen sprint star Kyle Chalmers rolled his ankle playing a school Aussie Rules game.

"Those were very unfortunate and I would say avoidable injuries," Verhaeren said.

"You can't avoid everything in your usual daily life, going shopping or doing groceries something can happen as well, but definitely those activities that are no doubt a lot of fun but sometimes could be better avoided.

"We have about three and a half months to go in the preparation, you can't afford to make mistakes and you really need to stay fit and healthy and do the right thing."

- news.com.au

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