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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