Bowles battles injury at nationals, wins butterfly heat

ON THE FLY: Rockhampton swimmer Alanna Bowles qualified fourth-fastest for the semi-final of the women’s 200m butterfly yesterday at the national championships in Sydney, despite shoulder and back injuries.
ON THE FLY: Rockhampton swimmer Alanna Bowles qualified fourth-fastest for the semi-final of the women’s 200m butterfly yesterday at the national championships in Sydney, despite shoulder and back injuries. Delly Carr Swimming Australia

COMMONWEALTH Games swimmer Alanna Bowles won her heat of the women's 200m butterfly yesterday to qualify fourth-fastest for the semi-finals at the 2015 Australian Swimming Championships in Sydney.

Bowles' impressive performance came despite battling injuries and a restricted preparation, swimming with a left shoulder strain and ongoing lower back pain.

"I hurt my left shoulder again in the heat," Bowles said.

"I thought I had torn it actually, but it came good after the first lap."

Bowles is also carrying a lower back injury which is "an ongoing thing I've carried for a year and it has flared up again the last month or so".

One of 16 swimmers through to the semis of the women's 200m fly, with the top eight progressing to the final, Bowles is quietly confident her winning heat time of two minutes, 13 seconds (2:13) will be good enough to get her there.

"Half the field goes through to the final and my heat time is well under the top eight, so I'm feeling good," Bowles said.

"It shouldn't be too hard to make the final; I've just got to stay relaxed."

The lead-up to these Australian championships, which serve as selection for the Australian swim team for the FINA World Championships in Russia in July/August, has been difficult for Bowles. She lost valuable training time due to her injuries, as well as Cyclone Marcia.

"With the injuries and then the cyclone, I've spent a lot of time out of the pool so it has been a tough preparation," Bowles said.

"I'm really lucky to be racing and whatever results I get will be a bonus."

Despite the difficulties, it has been a successful meet for the Rockhampton superfish.

Bowles made the semis of the women's 200m individual medley for the first time at a national championships at the weekend, an ideal warm-up for her signature event, the women's 400m individual medley on Friday, the last day of the championships.

Again, Bowles is relaxed and positive about her chances.

"There are no semis for the 400m IM so the top eight swimmers go straight through," Bowles said.

"I'm quietly confident, I'm hopeful of making the finals on Friday."

After that swim, Bowles will return to Rockhampton, before seeking specialist medical advice in Brisbane for her shoulder and back problems.

"With my shoulder, I need to know if I require surgery, or just further strength and conditioning work to get it right."