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How did Nic Fink break his wrists? Olympic swimmer's hand injury explained

Bruno Cooke July 28, 2021
how did nic fink break his wrists
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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Team USA Olympic swimmer Nic Fink swam came second in his 200m breaststroke final, with a finishing time of 2:08, qualifying him for the final tomorrow (Thursday). But things didn’t always go so swimmingly for the 28-year-old Olympian, who suffered a double wrist injury last year. How did Nic Fink break his wrists?

What happened to Nic Fink?

Nic Fink is a competition swimmer, specialising in breaststroke events – he calls it an “old man’s stroke”.

The 28-year-old just earned his place in the 200m breaststroke final at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which will take place tomorrow (29 July). He recently recovered from a double wrist injury, which meant that he had to take some time out of the water.

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As a result, he spent a portion of 2020 either not swimming, or swimming with soft casts on his wrists. 

While this may sound like it comes with similar benefits to running with light ankle weights, he doesn’t recommend it: “I wouldn’t recommend people practise 6000 long course metres in them”, he told Swim Swam podcast host Coleman Hodges in December last year.

How did Nic Fink break his wrists?

In the interview, Nic Fink talks about how he injured his wrists last year – but he wasn’t swimming at the time. In his words, “I was exercising and I fell”. He was in the US when it happened. Rather than rolling onto his side, he says, “I fell on my wrists”.

It is not clear whether or not he actually broke them, but Nic Fink’s double wrist injury set his training schedule back significantly.

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Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

He had to reimagine and reorganise his schedule. This included spending a chunk of time out of the water. Then, in order to ease himself back into it, he swam with soft casts at first. Fortunately, his teammates and coach were accommodating, and allowed him to take it slow for a while.

When did he recover from his wrist injury?

Nic Fink swims competitively for the Cali Condors, a pro swimming club in San Francisco, California.

The team competed in, and won, the 2020 International Swimming League, which took place in Budapest, Hungary from 16 October to 22 November last year.

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In total, 10 teams took part, four of which were US teams. France’s Energy Standard team came second, London Roar third, with LA Current trailing in fourth place. 

Fink’s participation in the competition – and his team’s victory overall – indicates that after six or so months of recovery time and easing back in, Nic Fink’s wrist injuries had indeed successfully healed.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.