Maddy Gough Forced To Train In Isolation After Rushing Home From High Altitude Training Camp in Spain

WELCOME HOME MADDY: TSS Aquatic Olympic hopeful Maddy Gough is back on the Gold Coast after rushing home from Spain.Pictured here with her team mates (L-R) Bianca Crisp, David Morgan. Mousier Johnson and Kiah Melverton after winning this year's Australian 5km Open Water Championship in Adelaide. Photo Courtesy Hanson Media.

Gold Coast Olympic swimming hopeful Maddy Gough will spend the next two weeks swimming in quarantine at TSS Aquatic pool after making a mercy dash home from a Spanish high altitude training camp.


HOME ALONE: TSS Aquatic Olympic hopeful and World Championship finalist will train in isolation, just to be on the safe side. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

With the Coronavirus spreading rapidly and the world closing its ranks, Gough contacted her Australian coach Chris Nesbit last week who advised her to come home from her Sierra Nevada high altitude camp, in Granada, southern Spain, as soon as possible.

The girl from Coffs Harbour, who came into Nesbit’s high performance squad three years ago, had been in Barcelona under the guidance of noted French coach Fred Vergnoux – who steered Mireia Belmonte to Spain’s first ever female Olympic gold medal in Rio in 2016.

Nesbit and Vergnoux had worked together to provide an opportunity for Gough to train in Europe as part of her preparation for the June 14-19 Australian Olympic Trials in Adelaide.


DISTANCED LANE: Maddy Gough will be forced to train for up to two weeks “just to minimise any risk”. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Gough, who is training for the 800 and 1500m freestyle, heeded Nesbit’s advice and arrived home on Friday night after spending three weeks with Vergnoux’s group in one of the world’s best equipped altitude training facilities

But even arriving home in these very uncertain times still means Gough, a 2019 Fina World Championship finalist in the 1500m and three-time finalist in the 2018 Pan Pacs in Tokyo, will have to spend up to two weeks training in isolation – just to be on the safe side.

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TEAM BONDING: Maddy Gough (left) having some fun with her Spanish-based training group in Sierra Nevada. Photo Courtesy: Fred Vergnoux Twitter.

Nesbit, the former British coach, who has been at TSS for 15 years, is one of the sport’s shrewdest minds and made the call to bring his charge home – but also won’t be taking any chances with his squad which includes Gough’s training partner Kiah Melverton, two-time Olympian Cameron McEvoy, his Rio team mate and relay bronze medallist David Morgan and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Laura Taylor, emerging distance girl Moesha Johnson and freestyle-breaststroke sprinter Grayson Bell.

“With everything going on we decided to have her come back early and she made the arrangements and was home in two days,” said Nesbit.

“The good thing about Sierra Nevada is that is it remote; she was away from a lot of people; she had been up there for three weeks.

“Maddy rang and asked what I thought and I told her it best she come straight home and while there is not any indication there was anything amiss, we thought to be on the safe side that was best.”

But she also arrived home to a stint of training alone.

“From a responsibility perspective we will keep Maddy separate from our main group; I will write up her programs but she will train in her own lane after the main group has left.

“She has no symptoms what so ever but she will train separate to everyone else for the moment and unfortunately she will not be in touch with anybody.

“Maddy will have to use separate change rooms; and she will come and go at the pool in a separate exit.

“I figured it was our responsibility (to put protocols in place). You don’t want to get to the point where there is a risk.

“As far as I know there is no risk…but you can’t take any chances even though there are no symptoms.

“Maddy will train when we allocate her the times which will be on the back of our sessions.

“At the moment she can’t be in our environment; we’ll make sure there is staff there and we will assess the situation after a week to two weeks.

“With this whole situation we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Melverton who along with Ariarne Titmus, Lani Pallister and Gough will form a strong group of contenders over the 400, 800 and 1500m for just six Olympic spots for Tokyo.

Golden smile from TSS Aquatic's Kiah Melverton and a hug for silver medal winning teammate Moesha Johnson.

REUNITED: Kiah Melverton says “We’ve got her home now; just to make sure; we’d rather have her home than stay away in Spain – we didn’t want her to be stuck over there and not able to get back,” Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

She and Gough may be opponents but are close friends and have spent several years training side-by-side and Melverton, in Sydney for the NSW Championships said yesterday she was relieved to know she had arrived home.

“We’ve got her home now; just to make sure; we’d rather have her home than stay away in Spain – we didn’t want her to be stuck over there and not able to get back,” Melverton said.

WTT Kiah Melverton Kareenas Lee Maddie Gough

DISTANCE TRIO: Kiah Melverton (Left), Australia’s Open Water representative for Tokyo Kareena Lee (Centre) and Maddy Gough. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

During a recent visit between Spain and Australia in January, Gough won the Australian five-kilometre Open Water Championship at Brighton Beach, with the TSS Swim Team – which also included Melverton, Taylor (a noted Australian surf teams champion with Northcliffe) and Morgan, himself a Southport lifesaver.

Melverton completed another successful State Championships campaign in Sydney last night, adding the 1500m freestyle to her gold medal swims in the 400 and 800m and bronze to Emma McKeon and Madison Wilson in the 200m – giving her 13 victories over four State Titles in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and NSW.

McEvoy also returned to the winners dais last night, taking out the 50m freestyle final in 22.48.



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