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Verhaeren backs Wright for World Championships

22 July 2015

SWIMMING: Australia's head coach Jacco Verhaeren has backed dual Olympic gold medallist Melanie Wright to fire when she steps in for the voluntarily-suspended Kylie Palmer at next month's world swimming championships.

Wright (nee Schlanger) got the nod from Verhaeren this month to contest the 200m freestyle at the world titles in Kazan, Russia, on top of her earlier relay selection.

The 28-year-old was selected for the extra race despite having missed the previous two team warm-up meets due to illness.

"Melanie is an experienced athlete who knows what she can and can't do," said Verhaeren of the London Olympic 4x100m freestyle gold medallist.

"She is absolutely keen to swim the 200m and she is confident she can do it."

Palmer withdrew from the Australian team after accepting a provisional suspension for a positive test to a minute amount of a prohibited substance, pending a tribunal hearing.

The alleged doping offence stems from a test taken at the 2013 world titles in Barcelona, where she won a 4x200m freestyle relay silver medal.

Tommaso D'Orsogna has also been handed an extra individual opportunity in the 100m freestyle, which he'll contest with Pan Pacific champion Cam McEvoy in the absence of James Magnussen following his withdrawal due to shoulder surgery.

D'Orsogna, 24, had already qualified for the 100m butterfly.

"It is satisfying to know that we are strong enough and have the depth to fill those positions from within the team," Verhaeren said.

The 35-strong national squad, spearheaded by defending world champions Cate Campbell and Christian Sprenger, will undergo a 10-day staging camp in Doha before flying to Kazan, Russia on July 29 for the world titles starting on August 2.

AAP

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