Emma Robinson is tentatively dipping her toes back in the pool, a month after a brutal initiation to ocean water swimming at the world champs.
The Wellington teenager was among the top-10 early in the 10km swim in Spain when she became the victim of some under-water violence.
Hurt and shaken up, she faded to finish 34th at her first world champs.
"On the first lap I got pulled under and kicked or hit in the ribs," said Robinson, a member of Gary Hurring's high performance squad.
"I got pushed under a buoy and my cap and goggles came off. I think it's quite common but I'm quite new at this so it's all a lot of learning."
Robinson suspected she knew who her assailant was but didn't want to point fingers without being 100 per cent sure.
She said doctors remained unsure whether her ribs were cracked or just badly bruised.
Robinson tentatively returned to the pool yesterday but will miss this weekend's Wellington short course champs.
"It was my first time in the water in four weeks. I'm still feeling my ribs and I've been told to pretty much not do anything until I don't feel anything. It can take up to 6-8 weeks I've been told."
Ocean water swimming is a difficult sport to police.
Judges follow the swimmers on boats and can dish out football-style yellow and red cards if they witness any foul play.
"I came out of the water and looked at them like 'are you serious?' Robinson said.
"They didn't do anything about it but they have to be 100 per cent sure who it was to call someone out. So nothing happened and I could have complained but I didn't want to put blame on someone if I wasn't 100 per cent sure."
Robinson has grown up in the pool as a 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyler but surprised herself by qualifying for the worlds in just her second 10km open water swim.
The commerce student now has a dilemma as to which discipline she focuses on.
She has always been a pool swimmer but Lauren Boyle's excellence in her distances makes it hard to attain A qualifying times for major events.
Wellington's three other national swimmers will compete at Kilbirnie this weekend; Gareth Kean, Samantha Lucie-Smith and Samantha Lee.
Lucie-Smith just wants a fun blowout after setting personal bests in the 100m and 200m freestyle and 400m individual medley in Barcelona.
"I don't want people's expectations to be too high," Lucie-Smith said.
"It's going to be interesting to see where we are at. We have nationals in six weeks so that is the one we are focused on and want to get good times in. I haven't got under two minutes for 200 free, short course yet. So that is my goal; to better my long course times."
Lee was also taking a relaxed approach.
"Short course racing is always fun to do after long course racing. It is something a bit different and there is not as much swimming involved."
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