Australian Trials: Distance Ace Sam Short Withdraws From 1500 Freestyle Due to Stomach Illness

Samuel Short of Australia reacts after competing in the Men's Freestyle 1500m Heats during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 25th, 2023.

Australian Trials: Distance Ace Sam Short Withdraws From 1500 Freestyle Due to Stomach Illness

By Nicole Jeffery

Former world 400m freestyle champion and 1500m medallist Sam Short has withdrawn from the 1500m freestyle at the Australian Olympic trials due to a gastric illness.

Short went down with a stomach bug three weeks ago and lost 4kg in 48 hours initially, but he still managed to qualify for the Olympic team by finishing second in the 400m and 800m freestyle this week.

However, Short and his coach Damien Jones (Rackley, QLD) have elected not to contest a grueling 1500m while he is unwell, knowing that it’s unlikely that two other men will better the stiff qualifying time of 14:54.29 in the trial.

If there is a place still available after the 1500m, then 20-year-old Short can be added to the event at the discretion of the national selection panel.

Jones revealed that they had taken the decision to withdraw from the 1500m before the 800m final.

“He was tracking really well and just all of a sudden picked up this bug,’’ Jones said.

“And from then it’s been a slow process and we have we’ve had to be smart about it. And there’s no point forcing it. All the work’s been done over the last four years.

“So we’ve been really smart. First day was really important for us to get on the team. Once you’re on the team, then you can use the results you’ve gotten in the last 12 to 18 months just from the events, and I know he’s ready for the events.

“It’s a massive risk (to skip the 1500m), but it’s a risk that we had to take. I mean, he’s on the team in the 400 and you can use the 800 time, so it is a risk that we’re taking (but) I’ve got to look after his health.”

Jones said getting Short back to full health would be their priority, but he believed they had enough time to be ready for the Games.

“We want to win the Olympics, so no one’s going to take any shortcuts,’’ he said.

In Short’s absence, Matt Galea is the top seed with a time of 14:57.19, ahead of open water specialist Nick Sloman (15:11.72), who is already on the Paris Olympic team for the 10km event.

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