UPS AND DOWNS: Tessa Wallace is approaching peak fitness during Caloundra Aquatic Centre training in preparation for the Commonwealth Games trials.
UPS AND DOWNS: Tessa Wallace is approaching peak fitness during Caloundra Aquatic Centre training in preparation for the Commonwealth Games trials. Iain Curry

Comeback swim queen aims for Glasgow

CALOUNDRA'S Tessa Wallace has endured her share of setbacks but another remarkable and rapid comeback has abruptly thrust her into contention for a Commonwealth Games berth. The 20-year-old overcame a serious knee injury and a bout of Ross River Fever to win the national 200m breaststroke title in 2012.

But she was diagnosed with Lyme disease later that year and has battled the debilitating condition for the better part of the last year-and-a-half.

Wallace had seven months out of the pool, returned to limited training in August and had her first real hit-out at the Queensland championships in late December when she finished fifth.

But she suddenly went almost six seconds faster at the New South Wales State Open Championships on March 1 when she clocked 2.26.89 to emerge as an unlikely threat for next week's Australian Swimming Championships at Brisbane, where Commonwealth Games berths will be earned.

"WE'VE only had about a month from the NSW meet to the selection trials, including three weeks of taper, but hopefully I can drop another two-and-a-half-seconds to get under that A-qualifying mark (2:24.68)," Wallace said.

"It's possible but I'm not sure how it's going to go. Another couple of months would have been fantastic but I can't push the trials back unfortunately."

Her mental approach to this year's trials is vastly different to four years ago when she claimed a place and went on to snare a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in India.

"Last time I kind of knew I would get on the team but this year I would really appreciate making the team due to everything that's happened over the past couple of years. I'd be over the moon if I made the team and if I do then hopefully I'll aim for gold at the Games."

Wallace said her battle with illness was ongoing but things were looking up. "I still haven't had the most ideal preparation but it's probably one of the best I've had in a few years so I'm a lot more positive going into the trials," she said.

"There are still many ups and downs. It's one of those things that's really up in the air. You don't know when you can actually completely get rid of it so I'm trying to avoid any of those stress factors that can bring it back on. I've just got to be really vigilant with it and keep eating healthy and to keep doing what I'm doing."

She is one of seven Pelican Waters Caloundra Swim Club members set to contest the national championships. Among them is middle distance freestyle prospect Remy Fairweather and versatile youngster Tianni Gilmour.

A host of other Sunshine Coast swimmers will also compete at the trials.


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