PARIS, Jan. 17. MEMORIES — or more precisely, nightmares — of Moscow came flooding back to the Australian swimming team in Paris for the first European leg of the FINA World Cu, as 12 of the 16 swimmers plus staff members found themselves bedridden with a violent attack of food poisoning.
After a smooth entry from Australia into Europe, the team's Paris Hotel rooms looked more like a hospital ward with British and French doctors caring for team members, coaches and managers.
The only swimmers to survive so far have been Ian Thorpe, Robert McDonald, Rebecca Creedy and Jessica Abbott and High Performance Manager Greg Hodge, with coaches Alan Thompson and Pierre la Fontaine suffering mild attacks but attending yesterday's first session.
Hodge, who experienced first hand the similar outbreak at last year's FINA World Short Course Championships in Moscow, said the Australian floor at the World Cup headquarters hotel was like a scene out of ER.
"I've never seen anything like it – we had kids dropping like flies and at one stage the doctors ran out of supplies," said Hodge.
"Ian Thorpe's coach Tracey Menzies was the first to go, with vomiting and diarrhea and it spread through the team like wild fire.
"We are convinced it is food poisoning – a meal most of the team had before any of the other teams arrived.
"We had to scratch 12 of the 16 swimmers from the meet and we will now monitor their recoveries closely as we prepare for Stockholm and Berlin. The doctors have told us it will take up to 48 hours to disappear completely from their systems."
Those swimmers sick and forced out of the Paris meet are: Frances Adcock), Lara Davenport, Felicity Galvez, Rachel Goh, Kelly Tucker, Tarnee White, James Beasley, Jason Cram, Joshua Krogh, Jim Piper, Ethan Rolff and Josh Taylor.