By Stephen J. Thomas
CANBERRA, Australia, December 16. IF there were ever any doubts about whether Aussie dual Olympian and four-time world champion, Petria Thomas, would return from an extended break after an astonishing competition load this year, which included the Commonwealth Games, Pan Pac and Australian short course meets, it was put to rest last week.
The 27-year-old was on hand to receive two awards — female short course swimmer of the year and butterfly swimmer of the year at the Australian Swimming Annual awards — and confirmed she would soon begin training for a place in next year’s team for the World Champs and then on to Athens in 2004.
However, the unfortunate news is that Thomas will enter the hospital in her hometown of Canberra this week to undergo surgery to put an end to abdominal pain she has suffered over the past three months. Her surgeon indicated that the condition is very likely to be caused by her appendix. The surgery will most likely have her in hospital overnight and delay her return to the pool until just after Christmas.