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US Appeals Relay Ruling: Text of US Appeal -- July 26, 2001

FUKUOKA, July 26.

The following is the text of the memo of appeal sent by US National Team Director Dennis Pursley to FINA regarding the disqualification of the US women's 4 x 200 meter freestyle relaay team:


From: USA Swimming
Date: July 26 2001
To: FINA

Subject: Decision Appeal

It has been apparent in these championships that the touchpads have failed to accurately register the touch on several occasions. With one exception, when these equipment failures were brought to the attention of the referee, SW 11.1 was applied and the times were adjusted accordingly. The official timing equipment failed to record the touch of the first swimmer on the women's 4x200 relay. The fact that the hand touched the pad before the second swimmer`s feet left the blocks was clearly affirmed by the official video backup as well as by other race analysis videos. In this case, unlike the others, the FINA Bureau ruled that SW 11.1 was not applicable. On behalf of our swimmers we would ask the following questions:

1) Why would the FINA Bureau refuse to implement a rule intended to be used in these situations to protect the athletes, especially when it had implemented it in other similar situatoin?

2) How can it be justified that the USA team was treated differently than the other teams who have chllenged the timing system results?

3) How can the Jury of Appeal declare that the "timing system worked perfectly" when it had been determined that the system was faulty in several other races and the video evidence clearly demonstrated that this relay exchange was in compliance with the rules?

In fairness to the swimmers, we request these questions be answered and this decision must be reconsidered.

ADDENDUM: A fair decision cannot be rendered without representation of all parties concerned. The Japanese, the British and Seiko timing officials were all represented, but the USA position was not represented at the Jury of Appeals. We request an opportunity to present our case to the FINA Bureau.

Dennis Pursley
USA National Team Director


--Takahisa Ide