Swimming-Australian coach defends German world record-breakers
Updated: 2006-08-08 14:04
MELBOURNE, Aug 8 - Germany's swimmers, who broke a clutch of world
records at last week's European championships, are drug-free and have set the
new standard in women's events, according to Australia's head coach Alan
"There is no evidence at all to even mention drugs in the same breath as
those performances," Thompson told Tuesday's Herald Sun newspaper.
Germany's women swept all before them in Budapest before head coach Orjan
Madsen was forced to angrily deny claims their improvement was down to doping,
saying German teams would always be tainted by the regime practised by East
Germany in the 1970s.
Britta Steffen led the charge, the 22-year-old eclipsing Australia's Libby
Lenton in the record books by clocking 53.30 in the blue riband 100 metres
She also helped the German 4x100m freestyle relay team upstage Australia's
2004 Olympic gold medal-winning quartet by setting a new mark of three minutes
Steffen, with team mates Petra Dallmann, Daniela Samulski and Annika Liebs,
also smashed the world 4x200m freestyle relay mark held by the U.S. but Thompson
leapt to the defence of the German athletes. "It was very easy to jump on it
following the drug scandals in the Tour de France and with Justin Gatlin in
athletics," he said.
"It's a shame when there are questions like that asked about good
Thompson admitted that Australia's place at the pinnacle of women's swimming
was under serious threat by the Germans after Lenton, Jodie Henry, Leisel Jones
and Jessicah Schipper dominated the 2005 world championships and this year's
"There is no doubt our girls aren't as dominant as they were 12 months ago
and a showdown is looming in Melbourne at the world championships (in March),"