Gary Hall Jr. Stirs Up Australian Swimming Community

SYDNEY, Australia, March 14. ACCORDING to various media reports in Australia, including the Herald Sun, Gary Hall Jr. has stirred up the Australian swimming community Down Under with some comments about Eamon Sullivan's world record in the 50 free.

In today's post-East Germany/China day and age, along with all the intense scrutiny on performance-enhancing drugs caused by the issues in cycling and Major League Baseball, swimming has not dodged the immediate thought of "Is s/he or isn't s/he?"

As soon as the Germans broke a slew of world records at the European Championships in 2006, many pool decks across the world started playing the performance-enhancing drug card. When Dara Torres does some incredible things in swimming at the age of 40, some fans of the sport just cannot allow themselves to believe it was done fairly. Swimming World has even heard of calls from German media members who are currently scrutinizing Michael Phelps and whether his abilities in the water could be "enhanced."

Unfortunately, that is the type of world our sport must adapt to because of those in the past that did cheat the system.

In the past year, the Australians have even had the rumor mill start up because of some of their incredible times. The most recent, however, is a statement made by Hall about Sullivan.

"I am not accusing Eamon of cheating," Hall Jr said as quoted in the Herald Sun. "I have been in this sport for a very long time and I have never seen such a drop in time from an elite swimmer. Similar drops have been made by athletes that later were proven cheaters. It's no fault of Eamon that a lot of people are going to look at his swim suspiciously, unless of course he did cheat. The public has a right to be suspicious of doping when they see a drop like that."

The Australian swimming community has already responded, including Grant Hackett.

"Does Hall question every swimmer, both here, in his own country and around the world that has ever made significant drops in personal best times?" Hackett said as quoted in the Herald Sun. "That theory throws a cloud over everyone and is just not realistic."

Full text of Herald Sun article.