Ill Oz Olympic swimming star Rice may skip Rome world championships

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Sydney, July 18 (ANI): Triple Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice is suffering from a respiratory infection, and may miss the world championships in Rome, The Australian reports.

Rice cancelled media commitments yesterday to conserve her energy as she strives to recover from the illness, contracted during her flight from Australia to the national team training camp in Manchester on Tuesday.

National head coach Alan Thompson said Rice had "a cold" and would continue to train normally in preparation for Rome, where the Beijing star hopes to add a world title to her string of Olympic gold medals.

"It's nothing major. She hasn't missed a session yet," he said. "Off the plane she was a little bit under the weather. It's more a runny nose than anything."

Rice has had a chequered preparation for the world titles since taking an extended break after the Olympics. She was bothered by a shoulder injury and other minor illness when she returned to the pool late last year, which put her training behind schedule for this event.

She has been desperately trying to catch up since the Australian trials in March, where she still won her gold-medal events, the 200m and 400m individual medley, and also qualified to swim the 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly. She has since dropped the butterfly event from her schedule.

The Australian team will arrive in Rome on Wednesday. (ANI)

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