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EXCLUSIVE! Why Lenny and Tammie Withdrew from the World Championships -- June 12, 2003 Lennye Krayzelburg - October 2002

By Phillip Whitten

PHOENIX, June 12. THE American swimming community was jolted last week when USA Swimming announced that Lenny Krayzelburg and Tammie Stone had withdrawn from the US team competing at next month's World Championship in Barcelona. Earlier, Germany's Franziska van Almsick and Australia's Sarah Ryan had announced they would not be competing in Spain this summer.

Krayzelburg, a triple Olympic gold medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, holds the world record in both the 50 and 100 meter backstroke, and he was favored to win those events. He was also ranked second to US teammate Aaron Peirsol in the 200 back. Stone was one of the USA's two entrants in the 50 free and a possible member of the US 4x100m free relay.

In an exclusive interview with SwimInfo, Lenny explained that he had undergone surgery a week ago. Tammie's coach, Mike Walker, revealed that Tammie is pregnant and expecting a new little Stone in October. While she could compete, she thought that at six months pregnant, she would be unable to swim her best.

Bryce Hunt replaced Krayzelburg on the US team. Haley Cope, already a member of the team, was named to replace Tammie in the 50 free.

The following is our interview with Special K;

SwimInfo: Lenny, why did you withdraw from the US World Championship team last week?
Lenny Krayzelburg: I underwent surgery last Wednesday (June 4) for a labrum tear on the rotator cuff on my left shoulder.

SwimInfo: Is that the same shoulder on which you had surgery last year?
Lenny Krayzelburg: Yeah.

SwimInfo: What happened?
Lenny Krayzelburg: I tore it during workout the first week of May. I'm not really sure how I did it.

SwimInfo: What did you do after you reinjured it?
Lenny Krayzelburg: Well, I didn't use it for a week. Then I tried rehabbing it for two- or two-and-a-half weeks. During that time my doctor gave me cortisone shots and I trained by just kicking. Finally, an MRI showed some abnormalities, but the doctor said they were inconclusive.

SwimInfo: Then what?
Lenny Krayzelburg: Well, (Coach) Larry (Liebowitz) and (Coach) Mark (Schubert) went with me to all my doctor's appointments. We discussed it and reached a joint decision: To do the surgery now, rather than waiting until August after I returned from Barcelona.

SwimInfo: What went into that decision?
Lenny Krayzelburg: The main goal is to be at my peak in Athens next year. We figured if I underwent surgery now, I would have sufficient time to rehab and begin to build an aerobic base in September, along with everyone else. If I waited until August for the surgery, I ran the risk of making the injury worse. In addition, after rehabbing for at least six weeks, I wouldn't be able to start training until late November or early December, which would put me behind everyone else.


SwimInfo: So, in the end...
Lenny Krayzelburg: ...In the end it was an easy decision to make.

SwimInfo: And how are you feeling now?
Lenny Krayzelburg: Pretty good, physically. I struggled for a few days but I'm feeling better now. I plan to start working out soon on the bicycle and doing other leg work, so I won't be completely out of shape when I start training seriously in September.

SwimInfo: Well, the US team in barcelona is definitely going to miss you, but everyone wants you fully healthy by the Athens Games. Best of luck!
Lenny Krayzelburg: Thanks, Phil.