Mystery surrounds the withdrawal of medal prospect Shayna Jack from the Australian swimming team just days before the world titles in South Korea.
Jack, 20, was a key member of the Dolphins’ world record-breaking 4x100m freestyle relay team and was set to become a major cog of the 4x200m outfit at the eight-day world championships starting in Gwangju on Sunday.
However, Jack announced this week on social media she would not contest the titles.
“It is with great sadness that I have to withdraw from world championships due to personal reasons. I appreciate everyone’s support and patience. Thank you all,” Jack posted on Instagram.
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While Dolphins assistant Michael Bohl said Jack would be missed when the team assembled at Gwangju, he could shed no further light on her decision to pull out.
“We are not exactly sure. She left the team which we are obviously very disappointed about but she has left for personal reasons,” Bohl said.
“We all respect the privacy she has asked for and we will find out in time.
“There has been absolutely no indication. We were just told at a team meeting that she has had to go.
“We respected that but we are moving ahead positively.
“Sometimes you lose people along the way; hopefully we find out in the next two, three, four weeks.”
Jack looked set to make a major impact at the world titles for Australia in their premier relay outfits after showing express pace by finishing third in a world-class 200m final and fourth in the 100m decider at the recent trials in Brisbane.
Now Australia must test the depth of their sprint ranks if they are to threaten the all-conquering Americans in the relays at Gwangju after Jack’s departure.
Asked if he had been given any indication about Jack’s withdrawal, Bohl said: “Absolutely nothing.
“In a perfect world it would have been great to have her here but we have girls who will step up and do a terrific job.
“You have to take the emotion of things and the facts are we don’t have an athlete; it is like a footy team that loses a halfback, another comes in and you push ahead, it is the same with us.”
Bohl claimed Jack’s position in the relay teams was still up in the air in South Korea, despite her trials heroics, saying Madison Wilson and Brianna Throssell were nipping at her heels.
“There is nothing saying Shayna was the person going in. With Maddy or Bri she was at risk of losing her position anyway,” he said.
“Shayna wasn’t in a position where she was 100 per cent guaranteed a finals swim, she had to get into the heats and prove herself.”