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Australian Olympic swimmer banned 12 months

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Two-time Australian Olympic swimmer Thomas Fraser-Holmes was banned 12 months for missing three drug tests in a one-year period, according to Australian media.

It’s a standard punishment for Olympic sports athletes who commit “whereabouts failures,” not properly updating their locations for drug-testing availability or not being present at said locations for random, out-of-competition tests.

Fraser-Holmes’ lawyer disputed. He is expected to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“It was acknowledged by a number of authorities that the data recording system that Tom was required to use on a daily basis to log his whereabouts was faulty,” the lawyer said, according to the Daily Telegraph in Australia. “A technical fault in the system prevented Tom from updating his whereabouts information. Yet, the FINA [International Aquatics Federation] panel found that he had been ‘negligent’ in this particular area.

“He’s incredibly disappointed by the ruling from the FINA doping panel, particularly in light of the fact that he’s never cheated. He’s provided more than 200 cleans tests,” the lawyer added, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“He gave testimony at the hearing that he’s been tested 200 times, has never been in breach and never returned a positive test. He knows there are competitors out there that have cheated the system.”

It was announced last month that Fraser-Holmes and 2016 Olympic 200m butterfly silver medalist Madeline Groves were among three Australian swimmers who had missed three tests in a 12-month period and were facing bans of up to two years.

Groves’ punishment has not been announced.

It was reported in March that Groves and Fraser-Holmes would skip the 2017 Australian Championships and the 2017 World Championships. Bans could keep them out of the April 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

It is not known whether their third missed drug tests occurred before they decided to sit out the big meets of 2017.

Fraser-Holmes led off the Australian 4x200m free relay that finished fourth in Rio and missed the individual podium in the 400m individual medley and 200m freestyle.

He said one of the three missed drug tests came because he was late getting home from dinner.

“In normal society, we all make mistakes,” Fraser-Holmes said on Australia’s 7 News in May. “We’re all late sometimes.”

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IOC expects decisions on Russian doping cases next month

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Investigators at the International Olympic Committee expect to have “a number” of doping cases involving Russians at the Sochi Olympics resolved by the end of November, but they have no plans to dictate the eligibility of these athletes for next year’s Winter Games in PyeongChang.

The leader of an IOC delegation in charge of reviewing 28 cases involving athletes at Sochi wrote to the head of the IOC Athletes Commission this week to update the timeline of cases stemming from a report detailing a Russian doping scheme at the 2014 Olympics and beforehand.

Denis Oswald said that of the cases his committee is reviewing, priority has been given to those involving athletes looking to compete in PyeongChang. Top priority goes to six cross-country skiers whose provisional suspensions expire Oct. 31.

Oswald also said his committee would rule on these athletes’ results for Sochi, but will not determine their eligibility for PyeongChang, instead handing over evidence to their respective sports federations to decide.

The IOC also appointed a task force to look at the Russian doping scandal as a whole, the results of which could have wider repercussions on the country’s eligibility at next year’s Olympics.

In a separate letter sent to worldwide sports leaders, IOC President Thomas Bach said only that the Schmid Commission is continuing its evaluation and that “I hope that the IOC Executive Board will still be able to take a decision this year because none of us want this serious issue to overshadow” the upcoming Olympics.

The updates come amid a growing chorus of calls for a timely decision and for Russia’s ouster from PyeongChang.

The IOC commissions are operating off information from the McLaren Report, the first part of which was released in July 2016.

In explaining the timeline, Oswald wrote that because the Russian scheme involved exchanging dirty urine samples with clean ones, it took time to adopt methods to verify that samples had been tampered with — in part by finding evidence of scratch marks on collection bottles that had been opened and re-sealed.

“The task has not been easy in both establishing a methodology in an area in which there are no established protocols,” he wrote, “and then moving through the necessary scientific analysis of each individual sample in a way which would withstand legal challenge.”

MORE: USOC boss calls for immediate action on Russian doping

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Two-time Olympian becomes first woman to lead U.S. national swim team

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Two-time Olympian Lindsay Mintenko has been picked to lead the U.S. national swimming team. She is the first woman to hold the title.

USA Swimming made the announcement Wednesday.

Mintenko replaces Frank Busch, who retired Oct. 1 as managing director. She has been a member of the national team staff since 2006.

During her swimming career, Mintenko won gold medals as a U.S. team captain at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics 800m freestyle relay and added a silver in 2004 on the 400m freestyle relay.

USA Swimming also announced an organizational restructuring that will place all technical divisions, including the national team, under the oversight of chief operating officer Mike Unger.

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