World champion Sprenger a Pan Pacs doubt for Australia

Tue Aug 5, 2014 12:38am EDT
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - World 100 meters breaststroke champion Christian Sprenger is a doubt for this month's Pan Pacific Championships because of the shoulder injury that wrecked his Commonwealth Games.

Sprenger was listed as "subject to fitness" when the final 43-strong Australia squad was announced on Tuesday for the Aug. 21-25 meet on the Gold Coast, where the hosts will compete against the United States, Japan and Canada.

The 28-year-old, who won Olympic silver in London in 2012 and world championship gold in Barcelona last year, went to the Commonwealth Games with hopes of winning three titles but ended up with just a relay bronze after his stroke fell apart.

Despite having swum the best time in the world this year in the 100m breaststroke when he clocked 58.87 at the Australian championships in April, Sprenger failed to get out of the heats in the event in Glasgow.

He returned to his home city of Brisbane to have scans on the troublesome shoulder in the hope of discovering the full extent of the problem before deciding whether to swim in the Pan Pacs, where American Michael Phelps is expected to make his return to international competition.

Ellen Gandy, who won a women's 200 meters butterfly silver medal at the 2011 world championships for Britain, will not take part in the meet for "personal reasons", Swimming Australia said in a news release.The 22-year-old switched allegiances to Australia after a disappointing 2012 Olympics but failed to get among the medals in Glasgow in her first major international outing in the green and gold.

The final squad included an additional eight swimmers selected on the back of their performances in Glasgow, where Australia won a total of 57 medals in the pool.

"It's not usual for us to have two chances to race so quickly together and it something that we've been preparing for all year and will learn a lot from," head coach Jacco Verhaeren said in news release.

"The athletes and coaches switched their attention to Pan Pacs as soon as the swimming was over in Glasgow last week, and we're looking forward to swimming in a brand new pool on the Gold Coast, and in front a strong home crowd."   Continued...

Australia's Christian Sprenger reacts upon winning the men's 100m breaststroke final during the World Swimming Championships at the Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona July 29, 2013.   REUTERS/Albert Gea