SWIMNEWS ONLINE: May 1998 Magazine Articles

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Backwash features short clips, gossip, letters and opinions. Contributions are welcome.Now for the rumours behind the news.


Australia against Semis

Australian Swimming has asked FINA to reconsider semi-finals at the 2000 Olympics. They recommend it should be tried at the 2001 and 2003 World Championships and that they only apply to the 50 free and the 100s.

The IOC has approved FINA's program for the Sydney Olympics including semi-finals in all events up to 200.

No Semis in the USA

In April, Backwash reported that USA Swimming adopted the FINA semi-final format. In May, the USS Steering Committee, acting in opposition to its own apparent self-interest, voted to implement the FINA format without semi-finals and to lobby FINA member nations vigorously to delay the implementation of the semi-final format until after Sidney. An apparent gift to Michael Klim and the Aussies.

An offer he couldn't refuse:

Gregg Troy, coach of the successful Bolles School Sharks in Jacksonville, Florida, for the past 20 years, has been offered the women's coaching position at the University of Florida. He replaces Kevin Thornton, whose contract was to end in June of 1999.

Troy led the U.S. women's team, which included Bolles School swimmers Trina Jackson and Ashley Whitney, to eight gold medals at the 1998 FINA World Championships in Perth, Australia, in January.

Twenty swimmers with Bolles ties, including former Univ.of Florida Gators standout Greg Burgess, represented the U.S. at the 1996 Olympic Games. Troy was also the high school coach for Gator Olympic gold medallists Anthony Nesty and Martin Zubero, and Michigan's Gustavo Borges, a three-time Olympic medalist from Brazil.

Training in Calgary

Olympic champion Penny Heyns, RSA, has rejoined former coach Jan Bidrman at the National Sports CentreŃCalgary, with the Sydney Olympics as the immediate goal. Hamilton's Joanne Malar has also relocated to Calgary in preparation for the Commonwealth Games. Other recent additions to Calgary are Lauren van Oosten from Nanaimo and Andrea Schwartz from Regina.

Training in Vancouver

Ontario swimmers Mark Johnston and Garret Pulle have joined the Commonwealth Centre at UBC in Vancouver ,along with Marianne Limpert, who was most recently in Montreal.

Sacked in Britain

Hamilton Bland has been fired by the BBC and the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) after a damning report accused him of taking bribes.

The report was a result of an independent inquiry established last July after allegations of corruption were made in the The Times of London and a television documentary.

The enquiry, headed by Mark Gay, a leading sports lawyer, found that Bland had not been giving impartial opinion while employed by the ASA.

Bland gave advice to local authorities on new swimming pools. He recommended throughout Britain moveable floors in their pools, for which he received kickbacks from the manufacturer. Bland "extorted" money from Han Mooyer, a Dutchman whose company, Poly Pool Floors, manufactured the moveable floors.

David Sparkes, chief executive of the ASA, said "Hamilton Bland was in a position of trust and influence, a position which he has clearly abused."

Hamilton Bland denies all allegations. "I have served the ASA faithfully and diligently, acting in its best interest at all times. I absolutely deny that I have brought the ASA or myself into disrepute."

BBC TV, for whom Hamilton Bland had worked since 1976, first as the expert and since 1990 as the commentator, terminated his contract in light of the report.

Bland administered a swimming awards scheme for the ASA that raised money to fund training for Olympic swimmers by selling badges to children. The report found that, while not acting illegally, Bland earned more than £ 300,000 (over $500,000) last year for running the scheme.

Bland was chief coach of the British swimming team at the 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games.

Suspension lifted

At the end of April. FINA decided to lift the sanction on the four Chinese swimmers caught in Perth with the masking agent Triamterene. FINA's Doping Panel has recommended further investigation and the lifting of the suspension pending a final report.

An Indpendent Inquiry

Cecil Colwin, a member of the World Swimming Coaches' Association's Anti-Doping Commission, says "If FINA flounders in their dealings with the Chinese, and there is another Perth-type debacle at the Sydney Olympics, it will mark the end of the sport as we know it, and we may as well all go home to play tiddly-winks. While not much is being said at the moment, the whole world of swimming is quietly, but not very patiently, watching the passage of events."

"No matter what ingenious excuses the Chinese may continue to offer, FINA has a vital responsibility to act decisively to end the continued largescale cheating by the Chinese. Let the Chinese wriggle, but FINA must now get tough. Already they have waited too long to take decisive action."

"FINA should stop listening to repetitions of the same soothing talk presented by Chinese officials these past four years, whenever their swimmers are caught red-handed. The Chinese swimming authorities should realize that the buck stops at the top, irrespective of where they want to place the blame."

"China has had ample time to put their own house in order, and should now be banned from all international competitions. In the meantime, an independent mission of experts should be appointed to visit that country for an in-depth assessment of every phase of that country's swimming program."

"With the 2000 Sydney Olympics fast approaching, time is short. The Olympics will be held in the same city where the modern era of speed swimming started, one hundred years ago. We dare not negate the efforts of the pioneers and all the honest swimmers and coaches who have brought about a century of unbelievable progress."

Joy turns to disappointment

Our cover girl, Susie O'Neill won her 30th Australian Championships at the recently concluded competition in Melbourne. It was announced that she had won the most Australian titles ever. That is, until it was discovered that Frank Beaurepaire, between 1908 and 1924, won 29 in the regular events and four additional titles in the now discontinued distance of 1,320 yards for a total of 33. There is always next year.


Just a few thoughts regarding Canadian Swimming. After many years of coaching, my feelings are like the opening lines of Dickens' Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Fortunately for me there were many good times and lots of accomplishments. I observed throughout my career many dedicated coaches giving their all-including precious family time-only to be turfed out at the whim of an amateur board of directors.

Until Canadian coaches control their own destiny, both at the club and National level, Canada will never reach the levels of trust and co-operation necessary to take the next step.

Clifford Barry
e-mail: Cbarry@idirect.com


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

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