The U.S. National Team, which heads for training camp in Australia on December 26, will be in less than peak condition. Missing from the team will be Chad Carvin, who is taking time off from swimming to allow time for a bulging disc problem that has plagued him for six months to heal. Carvin had qualified in three events plus a relay in Perth–the 200, 400 and 1500 free and the 800 free relay. Tom Malchow has replaced Carvin in the 200, Tyler Painter in the 400 and Tim Siciliano in the 1500. The US had been a narrow favorite to win the 800 free relay; without him, the race will be entirely up for grabs.
John Piersma, another member of that 800 free relay, is still recovering from a tear in his anterior cruciate ligament, incurred while playing football in October. Piersma left today for Hawaii with his University of Michigan teammates; from there he will join the National Team traveling to Australia on December 26.
Catherine Fox is recovering from a painful herniated disc that kept her out of the water for about a week in early December. An MRI indicated that the disc is not ruptured but there is “a large bulge between two vertebrae that is impinging on the sciatic nerve.” Fox continues to train while taking Advil for her pain. Last weekend, at a dual meet with Northwestern University, she turned in outstanding times in the freestyle, backstroke and butterfly.