Olympic silver medallist fights back after hell year
MADELINE Groves says she has rediscovered her love of swimming after a tough year battling illness and a possible drug ban.
A silver medallist in the 200m butterfly at the Rio Olympics, Groves led the field through the first half of the race but faded on the way home as the dramas of the past year caught up with her.
Groves had faced a one-year ban after allegedly missing three drug tests for not updating her "whereabouts" with testers.
But she successfully appealed the ban proposed by international swimming body FINA, although the months-long battle took its toll.
After a move to the Gold Coast with coach Michael Bohl, who is now based at Griffith University, Groves seemed back on track until illness hit late last year, with the 22-year-old eventually needing surgery for endometriosis.
"I'm good now. I did have an operation for endometriosis at the end of last year," she said.
"I finally got over the 'whereabouts' stuff and (finding out I had endometriosis) was a very literal kick in the guts.
"I still have adenomyosis (a separate condition of the uterus) which I'm dealing with but since I've had the operation, it's taken a little while to recover but it's really under control now."
Despite some suggestion Groves would decide not to swim at trials, she said the lure of a home Games was too hard to resist.
"I always wanted to compete at trials, obviously the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games is a really exciting event for us and I actually live down on the Gold Coast now, so it really is a home event for me," she said.
Groves was in action in the 50m butterfly on Thursday but as a non-Olympic event, it is not a priority selection race.
Her last chance for selection on the team is Friday's 100m butterfly where she will be up against Griffith squadmate and world championship medallist Emma McKeon.
But should she fail to make the team, Groves will be far from broken, with the past year having taught her too much.
"It's certainly given me a lot of perspective and that's why I've gone back to the basics a little bit of remembering why I train and why I enjoy it and what I love about swimming so much," she said.