De Bruin's Perth swim in jeopardy


Michelle De Bruin completed a disappointing weekend in Bordeaux, France with a second place in the 200m individual medley event on Saturday and a fifth place in the 100m freestyle yesterday.

In an article in today's Irish Independent Smith says that she has decided to pull out of the World Swimming Championships in Perth, Australia because the injuries she received in a car accident in October affected her training so badly that she could not prepare properly for the championships.

In the Bourdeaux meet the triple Olympic gold medallist and European Champion swam times of two minutes 26.39 for the medley and 59.95 for the 100m freestyle, which are well off her best form.

When she was in peak form at the European Championships in 1995 in Vienna her 200 IM time was some 10 seconds faster at two minutes 15.27 seconds, a swim that earned her the gold medal. De Bruin pulled out of the 200 IM in Seville this year citing tiredness, having won two gold medals and a silver in other events prior to the race.

Neither swim over the weekend would have merited a medal for De Bruin in any European Championships as far back as 1974.

She had been noncommittal yesterday as to whether she was satisfied that she had recovered sufficiently from whiplash injuries sustained in a car crash to undertake a World Championship effort in three weeks' time.

Her original plans were to travel to Australia in mid-December with the Dutch team in order to acclimatise to the temperature and time differences.

De Bruin said on Saturday that she was not disappointed and that it was her strokes that were off, something that was not unexpected as she had not been training properly since the accident.

Some soreness was reported in her neck from the butterfly and breaststroke legs of the medley swim but she has decided to sit down and discuss the weekend with her husband and coach Erik before coming to a final decision about Perth.

A World Championship medal is the only major international prize that de Bruin has not won and while the positions of second and fifth may seem far removed from the podia of Atlanta and Seville, de Bruin was primarily in Bordeaux to find how her body would react to stiff competition.

She has already entered the World Championships in the 800m freestyle event, which can be changed if she decides to travel to Perth. It is believed that changes from one event to another have to be made before December 31st.

De Bruin and her coach are renowned for being meticulous in their preparations for major championships and did not decide to travel to the European Championships in Seville last August until shortly before the competition was due to begin.