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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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Alysia Montano races pregnant again at USATF Outdoor Championships

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U.S. Olympic 800m runner Alysia Montaño raced four months pregnant in 110-degree heat at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday.

Montaño, who raced eight months pregnant at the 2014 USATF Outdoors also in Sacramento, finished last in her 800m first-round heat in 2:21.40. She was 10 seconds faster than her time three years ago.

In a Wonder Woman top, she gritted her teeth on the final straightaway and raised her arms crossing the finish line.

“[In 2014] women let me know that my journey and my story had inspired them in so many different ways,” Montaño told media in Sacramento, standing next to 2-year-old daughter Linnea. “I think there’s something about coming out to any venue, not really expecting to win, but just going along with the journey and seeing what comes out of it. And that’s the most beautiful part for me, being a track and field athlete, the platform that I have, I feel so responsible to be a representative for people who don’t have the same platform, don’t have the same voice that I do.

“I represent so many different people. I represent women. I represent black women. I represent pregnant women. … I think it’s my responsibility to make sure I’m a voice and advocate for them.”

Athletes are looking for top-three finishes to qualify for the world championships in London in August. Finals are later this weekend.

In the men’s 800m, two-time Olympian and 2013 World silver medalist Nick Symmonds was eliminated, 32nd-fastest of 33 runners in the first round.

Symmonds, in his final season, said he has one more race left — the Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 10.

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Lilly King to be less vocal on Yuliya Efimova topic this summer

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Expect to see Lilly King and Yuliya Efimova resume their breaststroke rivalry at the world championships next month.

It will look very different than in Rio, when King became a vocal opponent of doping and directed some of her words at the formerly suspended Russian Efimova.

“This summer, I’m not going to talk about everything that happened last summer,” King said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “I spoke my piece. I’ve said everything I need to say.”

Her focus needs to stay in the pool, where she must finish first or second at the USA Swimming National Championships next week to make it to worlds (broadcast schedule here).

King said in May her goal is to break world records at worlds in Budapest in July.

She may need to in order to defeat Efimova like in Rio.

Efimova has the fastest 100m breast time in the world this year, a 1:04.82 set on Sunday. The national record put her No. 3 on the all-time list (and .09 faster than King’s winning time in Rio).

King is in third place this year at 1:06.20, though she spent all winter focusing on NCAA competition in 25-yard pools.

In Rio, King said Efimova shouldn’t have been allowed to compete given her doping history.

Efimova served a 16-month ban for testing positive for the banned steroid DHEA in 2013. She again tested positive in February 2016 for meldonium, though she said she stopped taking it before it became a banned substance Jan. 1, 2016, and was absolved along with other athletes.

King memorably finger-wagged at an image of Efimova on a TV in the ready room before her 100m breast semifinal and relegated the Russian to silver the following the night.

“You’ve been caught for drug cheating, I’m just not a fan,” King memorably said in Rio, adding last November, “[Doping] was on all of our minds. We had team meetings talking about what it was going to be like. We were going to be racing dopers, and we all knew it.”

King struggled with her newfound fame after she returned home last summer, sobbing in a winter meeting with her University of Indiana coach, Ray Looze, according to the Indianapolis Star:

It was so hard to do normal activities in her hometown – go to the grocery store or eat at a restaurant – that she considered wearing a wig to disguise herself. Her likeness was on a bingo card at a fall festival, so people purposely looked for her. When in Evansville now, she said, she looks at the ground so no one will recognize her. After an initial wave of attention on IU’s campus, she can walk around without interruption.

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