Backwash features short clips, gossip, letters and opinions. Contributions are welcome.


Frischke Gets Job Back

After a Berlin labour court found the German Swimming Federation (DVS) at fault for wrongfully dismissing him, Berlin coach Volker Frischke is back on the pool deck in May as coach of the Spandau district swim club. Frischke was one of six former Dynamo coaches and doctors to be fined (5,000 marks) for having administered anabolic steroids to underage female swimmers under the former East German regime. His new position as head coach in Spandau will be financed jointly by the DSV and the local club. Federation officials gave contradicting statements as to whether or not Frischke would ever appear on deck again as a national coach. The 54-year-old has indicated all along that he intends to accompany his top swimmer, European champion freestyler Kerstin Kielgass, to the Olympics in Sydney.

The move to put him back into a coaching position was criticised by German swimmers' representative Chris-Carol Bremer. Frischke, who maintained a stony silence for the duration of his trial and to this day has not apologised to any of his former swimmers, has paved the way for his colleague, coach Dieter Lindemann, who is also hoping to win his job back in a labour court this month. Lindemann, who coached German swim star Franziska van Almsick, was also fined 4,000 marks in the Dynamo trial. Perhaps the DSV, whose lust for medals overrode all moral considerations when they hired the men as national coaches in 1991, should have considered the eventual consequences of their actions. Now, despite an attempt at justice, the federation is the loser, both literally and figuratively. Lindemann and Frischke are proving to be very costly mistakes.

Doctor Fined

Instead of going through the arduous experience of a highly publicized trial, the former director of East Germany's sports medicine apparatus, Dr. Dieter Hannemann, decided to take the short way out. The 64-year-old settled out of court and was fined 45,000 marks for assisting grievous bodily harm in 109 cases. He admitted having been involved in and aware of the systematic use of doping substances in East German sport from 1977 to 1989.

According to the local court in Berlin, 109 female athletes, 25 of whom pressed charges in this case, suffered health problems resulting from their state-prescribed steroid use. Hannemann's is the highest fine to be imposed so far in the continuing saga of East Germany's former doping state.

German Researchers Hit The Mark

A research team in Munich led by endocrinologist Dr. Christian Strasburger has made yet another step in the fight against performance-enhancing substances. Dr. Strasburger and his colleagues have come up with a test for synthetic human growth hormone, which, up until now, was undetectable. He claims that the test could be in use for the Sydney Olympics next year, if the IOC decides to direct more money into validating it. Another research project in London, GH 2000, sponsored jointly by the IOC and the European Union, has also produced a positive identification for growth hormone use. The IOC provided the head of that project, Dr. Peter Sonksen, with $1,000,000 for research. The team in Munich has worked with a meagre 300,000 marks, or US $150,000, from the Cologne Institute for Sports Science. The IOC has yet to officially acknowledge the results or act on the research of either team.

Foot Dragging

Swimming Australia president Terry Gathercole is concerned about the IOC's apparent lack of action in the fight against drugs. He has written to IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch for an explanation.

"I just can't understand why they are dodging the issue or why they just aren't putting any money into it," Gathercole said.

The Australian Institute of Sport announced last year that it had developed a test to detect artificially administered EPO but the IOC said as recently as last month they were unlikely to use the test in Sydney 2000.

"In my opinion, which I expressed in my letter to Mr Samaranch, I think the IOC doesn't want to find an accurate test because they'd be terrified that a number of competitors would choose not to compete in Sydney."

Track Leads, Swimming Soon Follows

The International Athletic Federation (IAAF) was first in awarding prize money at their World Championships. In 2001 there will be $10,000,000 in prize money to athletes. A world record will be worth $100,000 and $80,000 for winning the event. (All figures in U.S. dollars) Swimming has awarded prize monies for world records with $15,000 available for SC records in Hong Kong last April. The European Championships disbursed DM 300,000 (German Marks) at the SC Championships last December.

To guarantee participation from the very best, swimming will inevitably reward medal winners with prize monies.


That wasn't a typo in the article when I wrote that Josh has his kids go 30 x 1000 (you printed 30 x 100). Eric really has done that set and several other kids too. Intense as it sounds, that is the kind of thing he does all the time.
Nikki Dryden

Better Late Than Never

Robert Duenkel, Executive Director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, has announced that Charles Steedman (1830-1901), "The First Great Australian," has been selected in the Pioneer Category for induction into the International Hall of Fame for the year 2000. Duenkel said that ISHOF's selection of Steedman was largely the result of Cecil Colwin's historical research on the life of Charles Steedman, first published in Swimnews Magazine. ("Two Firsts For Steedman," Swimnews, February 1999)

Other category selections:
Swimmer: Tamas Darnyi (HUN), Mark Tewskbury (CAN), Mary Wayte (USA)
Open Water: Lynn Cox (USA)
Diver: Xu Yanmei (CHN), Tan Liangde (CHN)
Synchronized: Michelle Cameron (CAN)
Coach: Gail Emery (USA), Richard Quick (USA)
Water Polo: Ceaser Rubini (ITA)

Suspension Upheld

The international Court of Arbitration upheld the three-month suspension imposed on American swimmer Gary Hall Jr. last year for a positive marijuana test.

Hall, winner of two relay gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, allegedly tested positive for marijuana at a meet in Phoenix on May 15, 1998.

FINA, world swimming's governing body, handed Hall a three-month suspension on Nov. 6 of that year. Hall then appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.

In November, FINA deducted two of the three months already served by Hall during a temporary suspension. That left him with 30 more days to serve through Dec. 12, 1998.

Hall won a court-order that allowed him to compete in a World Cup meet in Texas on Dec. 2, where he won the 50-meter freestyle.

In March, Hall was diagnosed with diabetes and is considering retiring from swimming.

Top Olympic Sponsor To Pull Out

David D'Alessandro, president of John Hancock insurance in Boston (who also own Maritime Life) said three recent company surveys found 20% of those questioned "have lost faith in not only the Olympics but in the companies that sponsor them." Another 30 to 40% of the 500 people surveyed said they "certainly have lost some respect for the Olympics."

The finding departed abruptly from previous Hancock surveys. The company invests $US 40 million into the Games but has removed the Olympic rings from the company's annual report, billboards and stationery and pulled out of negotiations for $US20 million in advertisments during Olympic telecasts.

This is the first indication by a high-level sponsor that showed a direct impact from the Salt Lake City scandal.


Remember... It's not true until it has been officially denied