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Rice shoulder a cause for concern after title win

By Ian Ransom

ADELAIDE (Reuters) - Triple Olympic champion Stephanie Rice was dealing with a painful shoulder on Friday and had it strapped following her 400 meters individual medley win at the Australian Olympic trials in Adelaide.

Rice, who posted an impressive time four seconds shy of her world record to win the evening final on Thursday, had arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder in December and has been troubled by it in the leadup to the trials.

Her fitness concerns place her under a cloud ahead of the 200 individual medley on Saturday, but her coach Michael Bohl played them down.

"It's just like a precautionary thing I suppose, her shoulder pulled up a little bit sore from last night, nothing bad but the physio just decided to strap it to keep her body posture aligned a little bit more," he told reporters.

"She was pretty happy with what happened last night obviously and I think she's now gearing up for the 200 medley tomorrow.

"She got a little bit of pain last night, she wasn't able to swim down very well after her race last night. It was just a little bit sore this morning."

Rice, who also holds the Olympic 200 individual medley gold, previously had surgery on the shoulder in 2010 and can do little but grin and bear the pain right through to London.

"The big problem is she's got a hole in her tendon and to get that fixed up properly she'd have to have pretty major surgery," Bohl said.

Rice's national title win was a timely return to form and made her the first Australian swimmer to qualify for London.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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