With the World Championships in Kazan fast-approaching, look for Australian head coach Jacco Verhaeren to take advantage of the event’s scheduled Coaches Commission meetings to raise concerns to aquatic world governing body FINA, specifically regarding the handling of Dolphins swimmer Kylie Palmer.
An Australian record holder and 2008 Olympic gold medalist, Palmer voluntarily accepted a provisional suspension after being notified of a positive doping test dating back to 2013, thus pulling herself from the 2015 Worlds roster. After FINA released its official response to the entire ordeal, Swimming Australia called into question the time span between when Palmer’s positive samples were taken and when FINA issued its response. Back in June when the positive test came to light, Swimming Australia Chief Executive, Mark Anderson said “Suffice to say that clearly we have been concerned about the length of time that it’s taken and have expressed our concern to FINA.”
As a next step, Verhaeren has said that, come July in Kazan where he attends the FINA Coaches Commission meetings, he would again push for greater transparency from FINA, but, at the same time, denotes a sense of skepticism. “We will definitely raise the matter but we are only … a sounding board – we don’t make decisions on these issues. But definitely it is a worldwide concern. It is always good that your voice will be heard. Overall transparency (in future) … will be very important for the trust in and within FINA.”, Verhaeren has stated.
Although at this time Swimming Australia does not have an update on Palmer’s tribunal hearing, Verhaeren did confirm that teammate Melanie Wright will replace Palmer in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay in Russia. Wright, formerly Melanie Schlanger, is a relay veteran with 5 Olympic relay medals, including two golds.