By Stephen J. Thomas
SYDNEY, April 1. NEWLY-crowned Australian women's 100 freestyle champion and last year's Pan Pac silver medalist, 19-year-old Jodie Henry, was a late withdrawal late yesterday evening from the Australian team for the Duel in the Pool.
Australian Swimming Inc. today announced Brisbane- based Henry's withdrawal from the meet against the USA in Indianapolis on April 6. Henry and her parents met with Australian Swimming’s High Performance Director Greg Hodge in Sydney last night where she had been preparing with the rest of the team to leave on a United Airlines flight today. It was to have been her first visit to the United States.
ASI Chief Executive Officer Glenn Tasker said, “It is most unfortunate that I have to announce that Jodie Henry has withdrawn from the team to attend Sunday’s Duel in the Pool meet against the USA. Jodie has expressed to us that she has a genuine fear of flying to the USA in the current unstable climate. She and her parents met with Australian team officials for four hours last night before she left the team camp."
This latest withdrawal represents yet another blow to the organizers in what was always going to be a tough assignment for the Aussies given the long flight time and time-zone changes, even with a full team available.
Taking out Ian Thorpe, Geoff Huegill, Ashley Callus, Petria Thomas, Leisel Jones and now Jodie Henry will certainly detract enormously from the contest.