OLYMPIC-bound Tessa Wallace has again found herself in a deep hole both mentally and physically, three months out from the biggest event of life.
With her 200m breaststroke heat at the London Games set for August 1, the Coast teenager revealed yesterday that she was in a bad place due to the lingering effects of Ross River virus.
Wallace is doing everything she can to remain positive, but faces the prospect of being horribly underdone for her first Olympics.
At a time when her Australian teammates are in the midst of heavy training, the 18-year-old has been unable to train anywhere near her optimum.
She learned last May that she had contracted Ross River virus - a debilitating mosquito-borne disease that can cause a number of health issues, including joint inflammation and pain, fatigue and muscle aches.
THE virus also played havoc with her preparation for the national championships in March, but she produced one of the most stirring performances of the meet to win the 200m breaststroke final and book a berth for London.
It was a swim that stamped her as an athlete of great character.
However, her current predicament is so gloomy that she is already looking past London.
Her father and coach, John, based at the Caloundra Aquatic Lifestyle Centre, revealed his daughter had already written down her goals for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Tessa said of her predicament: "It's really tough mentally - trying to get yourself up and going every day.
"I just try and not think about my illness, how I feel, but still keeping it at the back of my mind and keep stress free … that's what's happening at the moment, and I've got to deal with it.
"I'm doing the best I can at the moment … it's very on and off.
"I start feeling good one day and fall back down another."
On July 7, Wallace heads to Spain for a training camp near Barcelona before meeting up with the Australian swimming squad in Manchester just prior to the commencement of the Games.
Asked how he was handling his daughter's situation, John Wallace said: "We've just got to float along with it.
"We've just got one day a fortnight we feel all right, and we do a bit of work and then we've just got to watch how much we do.
"If I push her too hard … it just sinks her completely."
John added he was keen to speak with leading Australian professional golfer Peter Lonard, who rebounded from Ross River virus to carve out a great career.
"She's already written down her goals for the next Olympics, and that's why someone like Peter Lonard would be great to talk to her," he said.
"He's been through it and come out the other end."