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Swimmers at turning point new seasons

AARON KOLINISAU
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Caroline Pickering Puamau's plans for a place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics has changes course as family commitments take priority.

Puamau, 27, who represented Fiji at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and 2000 Olympics in Sydney, said she was taking a "time out" from the pools.

"My little girl Jody just started schooling and I've been busy with other stuff," she said.

After a three-year break to have her first child, Puamau made a sterling comeback in the pool raking two gold, three silver and two bronze medals at the Samoa South Pacific Games last year.

The Nadi Barracudas swim queen set a new SPG record in the women's 100m Freestyle to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

However, her qualifying time attained in Samoa was not recognised after swimming's international governing body found that proper procedures were not followed in sanctioning the swim events at the games.

In reply to an appeal by Fiji Swimming Association, Caroline was told to compete and attain qualifying times again.

"It's time to think about my future in the pool. I'm still young, I'll see what the future will bring. Right now I'm into coaching," she said.

"Probably I'll stop competing internationally, but if I get back into the pool and started training again, then I might decide whether I make a comeback."

Puamau is impressed with the development squad and believes more swimmers could qualify for the 2011 Olympic Games.

Also out of the race is Rachel Ah Koy.

Ah Koy is tied up with studies at the Otago University in New Zealand.

Swimming Fiji president Dennis Miller said it was "unfortunate" that both swimmers had pulled out.

Fiji will now rest its hope on Carl Probert to clinch a place in Beijing.

"We now have Carl chasing a spot in the Olympics and he looks good to reach the qualifying times," Miller said.

Probert is competing in the Australian Nationals.





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