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‘Made me cry’: Shayna Jack makes statement return to the pool

by ZwemZa on December 14th, 2021

Shayna Jack had a successful return to the pool. Photo Steve Pohlner

Shayna Jack’s return to the pool has gone almost perfectly as the swimmer claimed silver at the Queensland Championship after completing her drug ban.

Jack spent 901 days out of the pool after she was handed a four-year drug ban after testing positive to black market muscle builder Ligandrol.

Her ban was slashed in half however after it was found she “did not intentionally ingest” but did not stop Sport Integrity Australia and the World Anti-Doping Agency from appealing the decision.

However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed the appeal in September, allowing Jack to return to the pool.

While she was always going to miss the Tokyo Olympics, Jack was finally able to return to the pool and made a splash at the Queensland Championships, winning her heat in 54.58 seconds before finishing second behind Mollie O’Callaghan by just 0.18 seconds in the final in a time of 53.80.

The time would have seen her finish 14th in the Olympic semi-finals but after the best part of three years away from competitive swimming, it’s an astounding performance.

Jack also took to social media to celebrate the result, paying special tribute to a round of applause she received after the performance.

“Wow, just wow!! I have never been so honoured & proud to receive a silver medal at the QLD state Championships,” Jack wrote on Instagram. “A moment I didn’t know would ever happen again and a moment that went above and beyond expectations. The crowd definitely made me cry when they began applauding me as I exited the pool after the race. I cannot thank everyone enough for their support. You are all #TEAMJACK”.

Australia golden girl Kaylee McKeown replied: “Proud of you girl”, while there were plenty of other reactions welcoming Jack back to the pool.

Jack admitted she was worried she wouldn’t be embraced upon her return to competitive swimming

“It was so nice to know that people that I have potentially never met are passionate about seeing me back,” she said on Monday.

“It boosts my confidence; I honestly did have fears that not everyone would be happy to see me back and that’s something I had to overcome. I couldn’t stop smiling.”

Aussie coach Dean Boxall also said Jack had a lot of improvement in her as well.

“She was a little bit anxious … Two-and-a-half years, your first race back,” Boxall said.

“For her to be here and swim and be back with the St Peters crew and swimming well too (is great).

“Paris (Olympics in 2024) is going to be really exciting but with another six months of training under her belt, main sets … you’ll see her improve (quickly).”

It’s still unknown how the Ligandrol got into her system as Jack has long professed her innocence.

She revealed on her episode of Australia Story in March that there were only trace elements of the substance in her system.

She also revealed her darker moments, admitting to Cate Campbell “I’m so lucky that I’m not the type of person who particularly cares what people say about me, because if I did, I wouldn’t be alive right now”.

Andrew McMurty | news.com.au

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