Swimming Australia CEO Leigh Russell: Media Statement

28 July 2019
Generic Pool

Welcome and thank you for coming here today. 

As you know Australian swimmer Shayna Jack has been notified by ASADA of an adverse test result. This was following a routine out-of-competition drug test conducted by ASADA testers on June 26, 2019.

Once we were made aware of the adverse test result on July 12, Shayna was provisionally suspended. A Swimming Australia official immediately flew to Japan and accompanied Shayna home.

Under our national policy she was unable to compete in the FINA World Championships while ASADA continues its investigations.

I do want to say that while an Australian athlete returning an adverse result is both bitterly disappointing and embarrassing to our team, our sport and our country, it does not in any way change the zero-tolerance view of Swimming Australia and our continuing fight for a clean sport. 

I just want to make that clear. We have a zero-tolerance approach. Our view is there is no place in our sport for performance enhancing drugs.

I also want to make it clear that Shayna is entitled to natural justice and a fair process and that process is continuing.  

As you would expect, Swimming Australia will provide the appropriate support for Shayna as she goes through this ongoing process.

As I said, we support the rules that are in place to ensure a clean sport where every swimmer competes on their merits.

When you support the rules, you also have to support the process that underpins those rules. 

We supported the process as outlined in the agreement we have with ASADA and our contractual obligations with that agreement – prohibiting us from disclosing details. The ASADA agreement requires Swimming Australia to maintain confidentiality until such time as either ASADA or the individual athlete release details of the adverse test result. 

I accept this is a frustrating position, but I also accept Shayna has a right to a fair process. She has told us that she was preparing to announce the adverse test result this week. She said she wanted to wait until her teammates had finished competing. 

As CEO of Swimming Australia, it was important that I speak on behalf of the organisation, but I do accept the criticism that we did not have an official speak poolside last night and that Cate Campbell spoke on behalf of our team.  

That was my call. In retrospect - we could have done that differently, but I do want to acknowledge Cate and her leadership and our team for their ongoing commitment to a clean sport. 

I am still unable to provide full details beyond what Shayna has already provided on the process. And I know that too will be frustrating. Again, I will be abiding by the process and the obligations we have as a sport under our agreement with ASADA.  

A stance that was reinforced by ASADA when I spoke to them again last night and this morning. 

In finishing, can I be really clear. What has happened is embarrassing.

It is bitterly disappointing, but it also does not change at all Swimming Australia’s view of the absolute necessity to have a clean sport and a sport that is drug free. 

ASADA has also issued a statement about its confidentiality undertaking with Swimming Australia. To view and read, click here.

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