By Stephen J. Thomas
MELBOURNE, November 7. DUAL Olympic Gold medalist and 100 fly world record-holder Michael Klim is recovering from an arthroscopy on his right shoulder only two months after making a successful comeback from a career-threatening back injury at the National Short Course Championships in September that, until then, had kept him out of competition in 2002.
Klim told SwimInfo that he had sensed that something was not right in his shoulder and had made the move to see the specialist sooner rather than later. "If I had to get the surgery I was better off getting it done right away to give it time to mend before next season."
The surgery involved work on cartilage that had been causing instability in the shoulder joint and in turn impacting on the ligaments and tendons. Klim said that the injury had developed from a natural tendency to overcompensate for the earlier injury to his back. He had planned to compete at the FINA World Cup meet in Melbourne in December, but now his goal will be to be fully fit for the Aussie World Championship Trials in March.
The last couple of years have certainly not been an easy path for Klim. In 2001, shortly before the World Championships in Fukuoka, he fractured his ankle soon after having had a major disruption to his training when long time coach Gennadi Touretski was charged with possession of steroids, first suspended, then reinstated six months later.
Touretski then had triple-bypass heart surgery in late October and was off pool deck, so Klim shifted from the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra to train with Denis Cotterell on the Queensland Gold Coast. Then just last month Klim moved to Sydney to train in a sprint-focused program with Australian men’s head coach Brian Sutton.
As always, Klim was upbeat for the future and fully focused on his recovery. He said he would probably stay in Melbourne until the New Year where he has the support of his family and girlfriend, World Championship gold medalist Giaan Rooney, who recently relocated to Melbourne.
Klim will be out of the pool for another 2 to 3 weeks before starting back on the kickboard and if all is well, back into full stroke by year’s end. His rehab will be supervised by leading physiotherapist Lynn Watson, who has also worked on the shoulders of Klim's retired teammate Daniel Kowalski and two-time US Open tennis champ, Pat Rafter.