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Sprenger eyes Rio after tough year

22 October 2014

SWIMMING: Reigning world-champion breaststroker Christian Sprenger is determined to shake off a major shoulder injury in time for what will likely be his last Olympic Games.

The 28-year-old fell apart at Glasgow's Commonwealth Games, failing to make the 100m breaststroke final and swimming three seconds under his personal best.

He blamed shoulder issues, which had started six weeks before the Games, but was unable to get the scans needed to diagnose the problem.

The injury, which turned out to be tearing inside his shoulder tendon, ruled him out of the Pan Pacific championships a month after his disappointing Glasgow performance.

After a shocker year, the two-time Olympic silver medallist says he's facing four months out of the pool but is determined to beat the injury and finish his career on a high in Rio.

"I've got unfinished business but I want to make sure I am 100 per cent before I commit back to any racing or training," said Sprenger.

"(I'm) just making sure the time is right. I'll give it a real solid effort to finish off my career."

Sprenger says he's receiving plasma injections and has limited his training to leg and kicking work.

Nevertheless, his injury is expected to take at least four months to heal.

"It looks to be the tissue inside the tendon has just almost switched off a bit and just not been repairing itself properly," he said.

"(I) have had a lot of specialists look at it and stuff like that and at this point it looks to be a fairly lengthy period before I get back into the full swing of things.

Sprenger, who was inducted into the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre Path of Champions alongside Alicia Coutts, James Magnussen and Eamon Sullivan, admits his attempts to push through the injury in all likelihood made it worse.

"The more I would do exercises without knowing this wasn't repairing itself it was just causing more damage," he said.

"No matter how much physio work was being done it would never have been able to fix what was going on."

Rebekah Ison and Ben Horne

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Christian Sprenger
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