Per The Brisbane Times, ‘Groves and lawyer Tim Fuller successfully pleaded their case to FINA overnight on Thursday.’ They described how Groves was in her dorm room and was waiting at the correct place and time, but ‘testers failed to go past the front desk of the San Diego University dorm building to find her.’ The testers also failed to call the athlete. (Brisbane Times)
As such, FINA officials ruled the 3rd test failed to meet WADA protocol, indicating that the testing agents ‘did not do everything in their power to track down the athlete.’
Swimming Australia has released its official comment on the Groves case, confirming the FINA Doping Panel ruled that Groves was indeed not in breach of the rules and was fully compliant with her responsibilities and obligations to anti-doping rules as a professional athlete.
Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said, “This is a great result for Maddie and we will continue to offer her our support as she plans for life and training beyond this process. We are very aware that this has been a tough process for Maddie as she prepared for the Hearing and awaited the finding.
“We are very pleased for Maddie and delighted for her that she will be able to compete and be selected for all upcoming Australian teams. It is an important reminder for all of our athletes about the importance of ensuring the whereabouts is accurate and athletes being present and available during this time.
“Maddie adhered to this process and this was a critical element of why she has been cleared.”
Regarding the ruling, Groves stated, “I have always been confident in achieving this outcome as I have been compliant with all anti-doping policies throughout my career. I am happy to put this behind me and I am looking forward to competing in an attempt to qualify for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. I’d like to thank my legal representative, Tim Fuller, my coach Michael Bohl and my family and friends for their support throughout this process.”
Anderson continued, “Swimming Australia fully supports all anti-doping policies and our athletes understand that the rules in place to ensure that all athletes must be available for testing at their designated location and time are a very important element of anti-doping policies.
“The Australian Dolphins Swim Team has worked hard to develop a culture of professionalism and respect within the team. Part of that professionalism is ensuring each athlete is accountable and responsible for accurately providing their whereabouts. Our swimmers’ actions and behaviours have shown that they have heard this message and have acted,” Mr Anderson said.
Groves will continue training and is eligible for future Australia Dolphins swim teams, including the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, pending qualification at next year’s Trials.
All quotes courtesy of Swimming Australia.