Breaking: Australia’s Olympic Gold Medallist Chelsea Hodges Undergoes Career Saving Hip Surgery Forcing Her Out Of World Champs

Aug 1, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Australia relay team of Kaylee McKeown (AUS), Chelsea Hodges (AUS), Emma McKeon (AUS) and Cate Campbell (AUS) during the medals ceremony for the women's 4x100m medley relay during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
FROM RELAY GOLD TO REHAB: Australia's Olympic gold medal winning medley relay with Chelsea Hodges (second left) alongside Kaylee McKeown, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell. Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports

Breaking: Australia’s Olympic Gold Medallist Chelsea Hodges Undergoes Career Saving Hip Surgery Forcing Her Out Of World Champs

While her fellow 2020 Tokyo gold medallists will headline the 2023 Australian Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast today, local star Chelsea Hodges will be sitting in the grandstands after undergoing major hip surgery to save her career – ruling her out of this year’s World Championships in Japan.

Hodges will spend the next four months in rehab before she can attempt to swim breaststroke again.

Chelsea Hodges smile

Chelsea Hodges. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

So when her fellow competitors are introduced for this morning’s 50m breaststroke heats at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, the home pool of he Southport Olympic star, the Australian record holder and defending champion, will be cheering on a new title holder.

The 21-year-old breaststroker, whose Olympic dream came true in Tokyo as part of the gold medal winning Australian 4x100m medley relay with Kaylee McKeon, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell, has undergone her second hip surgery – similar to what she required seven years ago.

“I will be out of the pool and into the cheer squad at this year’s Australian Championships and Australia Trials ready to watch my fellow Dolphins smash it at the Worlds,” said Hodges.

“This year hasn’t planned out how I expected but I’ll be coming back stronger than ever.”

A recent Instagram post revealed her fate saying: “Since January I had been rehabbing a stress fracture in my lower back…..however the week I was cleared to get back to some normalcy (and) after only 200m of breaststroke I started getting some really bad pain that was very familiar.

“After a few scans I found out I had torn my cartilage in my right hip (with) extra bone on my pelvis which requires surgery, (the same surgery) I had on my left hip, seven years ago.”

Hodges coach Sean Eels has provided this update on Chelsea’s progress.

“Chelsea had the surgery last week and will be about 16 weeks in rehab before she can swim breaststroke again,” said Eels, the man who has taken the local Southport girl from age grouper to Olympic gold medallist.

Chelsea Hodges action

CHELSEA Hodges shows her style Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

“She is taking the positives – even with the stress fracture it would had to have been a perfect eight weeks of training going into this year’s Trials in June.

“And Chelsea isn’t the type who just wants to ‘make teams’ – she wants to contribute to the medal tally.

“(But the good news is) she will make a full recovery and we are looking forward to some consistent training and racing opportunities towards the back end of the year.”

Hodges holds the Australian and Australian All-Comers record for the 50m breaststroke she set last year at 30.15 with her fellow Olympic team member and World championship silver medallist over 200m, Jenna Strauch (Miami, QLD) the fastest entrant into today’s eight heats.

It’s an opening day that will also feature Australia’s fastest female freestylers, Olympic champion Emma McKeon (Griffith University, QLD), world champion Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, QLD) and four-time Olympian, former world champion and Tokyo bronze medallist Cate Campbell start her road towards what she hopes will be a fifth Olympic Games in Paris next year.

Campbell, at 30, has joined the Swimming Australia Chandler Hub under Olympic gold medal coach Vince Raleigh – a squad that includes Olympic gold medallist Zac Stubblety-Cook, two-time Olympic relay medallist Leah Neale and Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the 200m butterfly, Lizzy Dekkers

An event that has the best depth of any event in world swimming, will also see Campbell’s fellow Tokyo 4x100m freestyle gold medallist Meg Harris (Marion, SA) joined by her gold medal winning teammate Madi Wilson, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Shayna Jack (St Peters Western, QLD), two-time Olympian and world relay champion Brianna Throssell (St Peters Western) and Bond pair Mia O’Leary and Milla Jansen.

PATRON DINNER Chelsea Hodges, Meg Harris, Mollie O'Callaghan, Madi Wilson

Chelsea Hodges, Meg Harris, Mollie O’Callaghan and Madi Wilson at the Gina Rinehart Awards Dinner in Brisbane. Photo Courtesy: Wade Graham.

Missing will be triple Olympian former world champion and Rio and Tokyo relay gold medallist Bronte Campbell who has just announced her return to the pool for a Paris tilt.

Bronte will be guided and overseen by Olympic gold medal winning coach Shannon Rollason at the NSW Swimming ACT Hub in Canberrra – the man who coached Jodie Henry to 100m Olympic gold in Athens in 2004.

Campbell will also spend time training in the Sydney-based Cranbrook program with head coach Bec Wheatley and overseen by Rollason.


  • 2023 Australian Open Swimming Championships Program of events click here
  • Final start lists click here
  • Follow all the updates via the event website click here
  • Live Results click here
  • Heats daily from 10am (AEST), Finals daily from 6pm (AEST).
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