Tara Kirk Posts Response Blog on WCSN; Intends to Find Way Onto Olympic Roster

PHOENIX, Arizona, July 25. ACCORDING to a blog by Tara Kirk on www.WCSN.com, she intends on appealing the selection procedure to replace Jessica Hardy on the U.S. Olympic roster.

Kirk, who finished third in the 100 breast behind Hardy and Megan Jendrick at Trials, would have been next in line to take a spot on the U.S. Olympic roster if Hardy's removal would have been done before the roster deadline date of July 21.

According to the blog shown in it entirety below, Kirk has spoken with a USA Swimming official and the organization intends on appealing the roster selection procedure.

A note to everyone who's wondering what's going on.

Greg told me Thursday morning that he had read in the Mercury News online that Jessica Hardy, one of the girls who finished ahead of me at Trials, had tested positive for a banned substance. The media was also reporting that the roster for the Olympic Team had already been finalized and that I could not be added to the team.

I had and still have many questions pertaining to the timeline of events and the results of these tests. I feel certain that someone along the way failed me and Lara [Jackson], who would have been named to the team in the 50 free. The results of the drug test should have come back earlier, at least in time to name alternates to the team. It has, after all, been three weeks since the tests were taken. Did they come back earlier? If so, why am I just hearing about it by reading the newspaper and why am I not on the team? If not, why did they take so long?

I emailed USA swimming but did not get a response over the day.

In the evening I called Lea, my coach, who was trying to figure out exactly what had happened. It seemed that people were simply saying the deadline had passed and that we had to move on. That answer was not good enough for either of us. It is not acceptable to us that the dreams and work of four hard years be shrugged off on a technicality.

I called the head of USA swimming and left a message. He called me back and said that they were following entry procedures and that it was too late to add me to the team and that Jessica would be going through appeals for her drug test. I asked him to make an appeal to change the final roster and, after a long and emotional plea, he agreed.

That is where I am at right now. Before today I had thought that responsibility for me not making the team rested on my shoulders. If I had just swum to my abilities I would have made the team. It was a difficult situation but one in which I could only look within for answers. Today the situation seems much more gray. The fault now lies on many shoulders and I fear that incompetence, laziness and deceit may have played a role. That is much harder to take. Regardless of intent, mistakes were made and I am paying for them.

People I trusted to do their jobs and to ensure the working order of the system we put in place for our sport failed me. I hope that I am not being unreasonable in my analysis of the situation. But I just cannot stand the thought of these organizations, which are supposed to protect me, sitting on their hands while my dreams are being ripped away. I cannot go quietly away in this; I've worked too hard. I hope that you support me.

Full text of the blog on WCSN.com.

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