Top New Zealand swimmer Trent Bray has tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone. The 26-year-old former Commonwealth Games and world short-course silver medalist vowed to fight the case, saying he had “never put any substance of this nature into my body.”
Bray said he would continue training in a bid to qualify for the Sydney Olympics in September, but his future in the sport now depends on a Swimming New Zealand hearing.
The NZ Sports Drug Agency notified the Auckland swimmer last week that a second sample taken during a routine test on November 22 had returned a positive result for nandrolone.
The first test returned positive this month. Bray and other swimmers had been tested at an Auckland pool.
Nandrolone is an anabolic steroid at the center of several high-profile doping cases. The British sprinter Linford Christie, Jamaican track star Merlene Ottey and Czech tennis ace Petr Korda have all tested positive for the drug, although they denied using it. A chemical version of the hormone testosterone, it helps to add muscle mass.
Last night, Bray’s lawyer, Peter Thorp, said the swimmer was “absolutely devastated” by the outcome. He said that during Bray’s time as an elite swimmer he had been tested about four times a year, without any suggestion of illegal substances. Bray was sure “the whole thing will be dropped once he’s able to prove how the substance got into his system without his knowledge.” “He adamantly denies any wrongdoing and wants to assure those who have supported him throughout his career that he will clear his name.”
Mr. Thorp said that after the second positive, Bray had his own test done, which showed no trace of the steroid.
Bray has won three shortcourse world championship silver medals as well as the silver at the 1994 Commonwealth Games ahead of bronze medallist and great rival Danyon Loader.
Swimming NZ said that under international rules it would hear Bray’s case within 14 days of being notified of the result last Monday.