Saturday 18 November 2017

Swimming: Harrison still focused on Olympic bid despite ban

Mark O'Driscoll

RYAN Harrison will continue to pursue his dream of qualifying for the London Olympics despite being suspended from competition by his American College team, the University of Tennessee.

National freestyle record-holder Harrison, from Derry, reacted to his suspension due to a "violation of team rules" by releasing a statement, insisting: "During my time at UT I have never tested positive for any illegal substances and have taken many drug tests for the university, just like any other student athlete."

Swim Ireland's high performance director Peter Banks, who is currently in Florida with four other Irish swimmers at a training camp, said: "I called Ryan when I heard this story and while he didn't elaborate, he insisted that it was purely for a violation of team rules.

"We also have had no indication of any drug allegations being levelled against Ryan from either FINA or WADA and I'm happy that he has not violated any Swim Ireland rules."

Harrison can still seek to make the London Games as he's only suspended from college championships meets, leaving him open to compete at international long course competitions.

Harrison's lawyer Donald A Bosch stated: "I stand by and confirm his (Harrison's) account of his suspension from the UT swimming program for the balance of the season for a violation of team rules."

Irish Independent

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