Illness won't stop brave Gemma
By STEVE SPINKS
GEMMA JOHNSON has overcome a great deal to get to the starting blocks for today's FINA World Cup Shortcourse event in Sydney.
The 17-year-old has battled chronic fatigue syndrome and glandular fever during the past 18 months, illnesses swimmers seem particularly susceptible to.
Unfortunately, Johnson is still suffering some effects from the illnesses.
"This is the fastest she's swum in 18 months," Ballina Indoor coach Peter Charlton said.
"She still gets easily tired so we've altered her training, but she's getting better."
Johnson will compete in the 50m backstroke and the 50m butterfly. Realistically, Charlton knows Johnson is up against some tough competitors, and he hopes the Trinity Catholic College student makes the final in the backstroke.
Despite her illness, Johnson had a successful shortcourse season placing third in the backstroke and sixth in the freestyle at the NSW Open Championships and Johnson likes competing in the 25m pool.
"I love shortcourse swimming and it's going to be a fun weekend," she said.
Johnson's elder sister, Kate, will also compete. She now swims for the Sydney University club.