Bronte won both the 50 and 100 meters freestyle sprints at the
world championships in Kazan last year, taking the longer title off
Cate as the elder of the Australian siblings recovered from shoulder
The roles are reversed heading into the April 7-14 Australian
championships in Adelaide, with Cate fighting fit and Bronte
suffering from a mystery shoulder problem.
"I am as close to 100 percent shape as I have been in years," Cate
told reporters in Adelaide.
"I am on top of injuries. Bront and I appear to have done a switch,
I promise I don't have a doll under my bed and I'm not stabbing pins
in it," the 23-year-old added with a laugh.
"But I really feel for her. She is going through a rough time. I am
there to console her. It is a horrible thing to be injured ... but
she is holding up like a trouper. I expect nothing but the best from
Bronte said she would not be having scans on the injury until after
the championships, which double as the Olympic selection trials, but
was confident she could battle through to claim a place at her
"Preparation hasn't been ideal but then again no preparation has
been, and no sportsperson is going to be free of injuries," Bronte
"It's not something that really worries me, I don't think I've ever
had a prep where some small thing hasn't gone wrong.
"Cate just smiles and says 'I know exactly what you are going
through' because she went through shoulder surgery and her neck
problem," she added.
"She has had six or so cortisone injections
into her neck - she has definitely been through it all."
[to top of second column]
After winning bronze in the 50 freestyle as a 15-year-old at the
Beijing Olympics, Cate has developed into a stronger 100 sprinter
but she still holds the third best time of the year in the world
(24.32 seconds) in the one-length event.
Bronte is just behind her in the rankings (24.37), as she is in the
100 this year, her 53.30 seconds third in the world behind Cate's
52.85 and the 52.78 swam by Swede Sarah Sjostrom in Stockholm last
Given the margin for catastrophic error in the sprints, though, Cate
said she would not be thinking about making a statement to her
rivals with her times in Adelaide.
"I'm here to make it onto the Olympic team and everything else is
irrelevant," she added.
"It's absolutely cut-throat, trials is the most stressful
competition. At Olympics you have nothing to lose, at the Olympic
trials you have everything to lose, you have the next four years of
your life to lose."
(Writing by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)
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