Australian softball star Clare Warwick balances books with Olympic Games mission

Clare Warwick is eyeing an Olympic Games appearance. Picture: Softball Australia
Clare Warwick is eyeing an Olympic Games appearance. Picture: Softball Australia

The school holidays have been anything but a break for Olympic Games-bound softball player Clare Warwick.

Because while fellow school teachers have been enjoying time off from work, Warwick has been working relentlessly to mend a hamstring injury as she enters an Olympic year.

The injury will sideline Warwick for the Aussie Spirit's upcoming Australia Pacific Cup campaign at Blacktown International Sportspark from January 30.

The tournament gives 32 players the chance to press their claims for the Spirit and Australia A on the road to Tokyo.

But Warwick will not be far from the minds of selectors given the international regular will join Western Australian representative Leah Parry as an assistant during the event.

A squad of 23 will then be chosen to travel to the United States for the National Professional Fastpitch league, to compete under the Aussie Peppers of Minnesota banner, beginning in May.

Warwick is on the cusp of a return to full fitness which will open the door for her return to the national side on American soil.

Though she admits she wasn't quite sure how to approach arguably the biggest year of her career as she looks to balance school books with a gold medal mission.

"I was debating how I would approach it," Warwick said.

"Harrison School and the department of education have been very flexible with me. Whenever I need time, they've been pretty good at giving it to me.

"I'm pretty happy to stay at work and fit in my softball schedule around it. I've been working for four years while playing internationally so I feel comfortable doing it.

"The focus will be on softball but I'm confident I can still work as well."

Clare Warwick will miss the AP Cup. Picture: Softball Australia

Clare Warwick will miss the AP Cup. Picture: Softball Australia

The 23 players who travel to the US will then head straight to Tokyo for a pre-Olympic camp before the squad is whittled down to 15.

Warwick is confident she will be able to bury the demons of a niggling injury following a stint in rehabilitation while schools shut down over the holiday period.

"I've been battling on and off with a little bit of a hamstring injury," Warwick said.

"So we decided to take six to eight weeks off to get it right before the international season starts. It's on the mend, a couple more weeks and it'll be back to 100 per cent.

"Seeing as it's school holidays, it's my priority so I've been spending all my time getting it right and getting it fit.

"I'm almost back, I've been training, the rehab is falling into the background now and I'm getting back into getting match fitness into it."

Four of the six nations qualified for the Tokyo Games are set to compete in the AP Cup, with the Spirit and Australia A joined by Mexico, Italy and world No. 2 Japan.

Chinese Taipei and New Zealand will round out the list of competitors at the four-day tournament.

This story Balancing books with a medal mission first appeared on The Canberra Times.