LONDON // Australia's Beijing triple Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice said she will take a break from swimming and consider whether to continue after a frustrating London 2012.
Rice, 24, was unable to defend her 200/400m medley titles in the face of Chinese wonder teen Ye Shiwen's domination of the events.
The Australian battled back the tears after just missing out on a bronze medal in Tuesday's 200m medley final as she spoke about the difficulty of her Olympic preparation beset by shoulder trouble.
"I need to take a break to get my head back in the right frame of mind," Rice told reporters. "I'd hate to make a rapid decision on quitting the sport which a few people do.
"I've always said I could never be someone who quits and comes back to the sport.
"If I think it's time to move on, if it's time to end ... I'd hate to finish on the disappointment, but at the same time I'm proud of what I have achieved in my swimming career and really happy with the person I have turned into after this really hard prep.
"It's tough. I'm in a really tough position now having to analyse what I want to do because I love swimming and I love competing and representing Australia.
"But if preparations are going to be like the one I just had, there is just no way in the world I can keep it up. It was really tough."
Rice, the golden girl of the pool at the last Beijing Games with three golds, has had to battle a debilitating shoulder injury over the past few years.
"There's no excuses for the way I have prepared in these last few weeks," she said.
"Obviously it has been far from an ideal preparation and lot different to my Beijing one."
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