By Steven V. Selthoffer, Chief European Columnist
KRANJA, Slovenia, June 25. THERE is breaking news originating from the Mednarodno Prvenstovo Kranja 2012 swimming meet held June 2-3, in Kranja, Slovenia, regarding FINA A and B Olympic qualification times. Meet results reveal a number of swimming time and event irregularities in FINA Olympic qualifying times in the men's 50m and 100m freestyle for the London 2012 Olympic Games and another event, that may spread and possibly implicate federation officials in two different countries stretching all the way to the official FINA World Rankings.
The controversy could possibly harm the outstanding career of Athens 2004 Olympic silver medallist, Duje Draganja's, CRO, who has legitimately qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games according to FINA rules in the men's 50m freestyle while others may have not. London will be his fourth and most likely final Olympic Games appearance.
Corruption in Results
In the published results on page 143 of the Kranja 2012 meet, it lists the FINA A and B Olympic qualifying swimmers and their times.
At the top of the list in the men's 50m freestyle is Mario Todorovic, Zagrebački Plivački Club, CRO, with a 22.50, B-FINA / Olympic Selection Time. The results are written down as if he swam an individual 50m free time and not a 100m free “split.”
Mario Todorovic's, CRO, 22.50 50m “split” time in his 100 free is listed as a solo result, although in actuality it was reported previously in earlier pages in the meet results that he swam it as a “split of a 100 free.”
Results that come from time trials or as relay lead-offs or relay-splits are labelled as such, with an asterix or a special letter, or symbol designation. This swim as a 100 free “split” contains no special symbol or mark in the official meet results.
Croatian Swimming Federation
In the Kranja 2012 swim meet, all of the results that were achieved at the meet were submitted to FINA immediately after the meet and were accepted by FINA as a matter of due course.
Internal emails given to Swimming World, state that Todorovic's 22.50 50m free “split” time from the 100 free time, in a highly unusual circumstance, was allegedly accepted by FINA into their World Rankings approximately TWO WEEKS after the Kranja 2012 meet in a letter from the Croatian Swimming Federation.
This delay and its public knowledge prevented Draganja from competing in another meet before the Games. Draganja has been recovering for months from severe food poisoning, (salmonella and campylo bacteria) and has not competed for a while, wanting to save his strength for the London Olympics.
Dranganja slowly returned to competitive swimming this year, nailing down a 22.51 FINA B Olympic qualifying time and then returned back to the USA to prepare for the Olympics since there was no one in his country capable of bettering the mark.
FINA World Rankings Confirm Irregularities
The FINA world rankings as of June 25, 2012, (HTML format) shows Mario Todorovic, CRO, with an OST (Olympic Selection Time) of 22.50, Kranj, SLO, 02/06/12, (from the 100 free “split” time), .01 of a second ahead of Mr. Duje Draganja's, CRO, legitimate 50m free time of 22.51, achieved at the Swim Cup Eindhoven 2012, 12/04/12.
Todorovic's 100 free “split” time places him perfectly ahead of Draganja in order to be selected by FINA as Croatia's single representative for the men's 50m freestyle according to selection criteria.
There is no asterisk, no mark or any indication in the FINA rankings that the time was achieved as a 100 free “split” and not as a legitimate individual 50m freestyle event or a time trial.
According to other emails, the meet also has raised questions concerning a 200 free “split” on a 400 freestyle individual swim that are allegedly defined differently, than permitted by the rules.
FINA Is Examining the Concerns
It is reported that after three email attempts to FINA regarding the irregularities in Todorovic's 100 free “split” time and the men's 50 Free World Rankings, FINA has acknowledged the problem and the information has been passed on to the FINA Sports Department “for the right people to look into the concerns.”
Spotlight of Scrutiny is Expanding to Croatian Swimming Federation
Currently, questions have been submitted to Mr. Mario Todorovic, Zagrebački Plivački Club, CRO, and the Croatian Swimming Federation demanding an explanation.
Questions include: Who was involved in the timing of the men's 100 free in Kranja? Who signed off on the results in Kranja with the FINA B Olympic Selection qualifying time of Mr. Todorovic? Was there a letter sent to FINA asking them to accept the results? Who was responsible from the Croatian Swimming Federation regarding the 50m split time sent to FINA?
We will keep you informed of developments as they happen.
For more information on the Mednarodno Prvenstovo Kranja 2012 swimming meet, June 2-3, Kranja, Slovenia, please go to: www.pzstiming.net/indexEN.php