MELBOURNE, Australia, April 26. ACCORDING to reports from Swimming Australia, FINA has decided that Libby Lenton's 52.99 clocked as the lead leg of Australia's mixed 400 meter freestyle relay at the Duel in the Pool earlier this month will not be ratified. Therefore, the 53.30 set by Germany's Britta Steffen last summer still stands as the top mark.
According to the Swimming Australia release FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu contacted Swimming Australia Limited CEO Glenn Tasker with the news and quoted FINA rules GR 22.214.171.124.
"This event is not included in the FINA rules GR 126.96.36.199 and consequently this relay is not a FINA event and the World Record can not be approved." Marculescu said.
The rule, in effect, means the record cannot be confirmed because the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay is not an approved FINA event.
Tasker has acknowledged the ruling and says he feels for Lenton.
"Swimming Australia lodged the application for a world record in accordance with FINA rules but unfortunately the application has been knocked back because this event (4x100m mixed freestyle relay) is not included in the FINA rules GR 188.8.131.52," Tasker said in a statement. "Consequently this relay is not a FINA event and the World Record can not be approved. Swimming Australia has no alternative but to accept this ruling as there is no further course of action. It is an unfortunate situation and our hearts go out to Libby and her coach Stephan Widmer because it was truly an amazing performance from an amazing young Australian swimmer who I'm sure will continue to aspire to lower the world mark. We look forward to watching Libby's progress in the build up to next year's Telstra Olympic Trials in Sydney. I'm sure it is going to bring out the best in all our swimmers with Olympic berths up for grabs."
Lenton also responded in the Swimming Australia statement.
"I am a little disappointed because I know in my heart what time I swam and that time is faster than the existing world record," Lenton said. "However, having said that, the disappointment can take nothing away from the fact I now know I am capable of swimming under 53 seconds and I will continue to strive to improve every aspect of my swimming."