The Week That Was: Sun Yang Doping Hearing Takes Place; Condors, Current Advance to Las Vegas

Sun Yang, with his counsel Ian Meakin to the left, in Montreux at the CAS hearing - Photo Courtesy: Craig Lord sunyanglast3 sunyangsketch
Sun Yang, with his counsel Ian Meakin to the left, in Montreux at the CAS hearing - Photo Courtesy: Craig Lord

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The Week That Was: The International Swimming League continued over the weekend with the first two spots in the Las Vegas final up for grabs this weekend in College Park, Maryland with the LA Current and Cali Condors clinching their spots in next month’s final. There were four American records broken this weekend with Melanie Margalis taking the 400 IM, Ian Finnerty taking the 50 and 100 breast, and Caeleb Dressel taking the 50 fly.

Perhaps one of the biggest stories of the year, Sun Yang had his hearing with the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreux, Switzerland. WADA challenged a FINA Doping Panel decision to caution the Chinese swimmer on Friday over an acrimonious dispute with anti-doping testers last year which ended with neither urine nor blood samples being sent off for analysis and a vial of Sun’s blood smashed with a hammer by a security guard. A final verdict from the hearing will be made in January 2020.

Read below the five biggest stories in the week that was.

The Week That Was #5: Regan Smith Named to TIME 100 Next List

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Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

By Andy Ross

17-year-old Regan Smith was named to TIME Magazine’s 100 Next list for her performance at the 2019 World Championships this summer. Smith broke two world records in the 200 and 100 backstroke, winning a gold medal in her lone individual event — the 200 back. Smith’s world record in the 100 came leading off the 4×100 medley relay for the United States which went on to win gold and lower the world record as well.

The full list can be viewed here.

#4: Elizabeth Beisel Issues Apology After Survivor Incident

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Elizabeth Beisel was a contestant on the reality TV show ‘Survivor’ Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Dan D’Addona

Elizabeth Beisel issued an apology for her controversial conduct on an episode of “Survivor” where she and another contestant, Missy Byrd, played up charges of inappropriate touching against another player for strategic advantage.

The three-time Olympian issued a statement on Twitter about the situation.

“If you are reading this, I am assuming you have watched the most recent episode of Survivor and are looking for answers,” Elizabeth Beisel wrote in the statement. “After watching the episode, my eyes were opened to a completely different truth, and I received an abundance of information that I was entirely unaware of while playing the game.

“To Kellee. I was sick to my stomach watching the episode and seeing how much pain you were in,” she continued. “I wholeheartedly apologize to you for using your accusations against Dan for gameplay.”

The Week That Was #3: International Swimming League Hinting At Expansion After Olympics

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The ISL is committed to adding more teams and meets next year; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross

International Swimming League founder Konstantin Grigorishin said in an interview with the Washington Post this week that he is committed to expanding the league following next summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games, despite the financial struggles within the first year.

The ISL has received plenty of media coverage from swimming news outlets like us at Swimming World Magazine, but has not expanded much to outside parties. There are no visible sponsorships on display on the pool deck or on the broadcast.

The ISL became official in January and announced the eight teams and schedule in June. The league moved so quickly to get off the ground that there wasn’t enough time to garner sponsorships and many venues had already been booked.

“We’re in the most tough financial stage. We’re investing the money,” Grigorishin said. “But how do you convince a sponsor to sponsor something that does not exist? Now we have a product.”

There has been some good come out of the ISL with strong international ticket sales, a world record, and an electric atmosphere on the pool deck from athletes and coaches.

Grigorishin is hoping there will be a boost in popularity after the 2020 Olympic Games next summer for the second season which he hopes to start in September. Year one of the International Swimming League saw eight teams compete in seven meets. Year two is projected to add two more teams that will compete in 27 total meets, with a championship slated for April 2021.

#2: LA Current Edge Cali Condors in American Derby; Both Teams Advance to Las Vegas

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The LA Current celebrate their first victory in the ISL; Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia D’Alberto/LaPresse

By John Lohn, Swimming World Co-Editor-in-Chief

The two American spots in the International Swimming League finale next month in Las Vegas are guaranteed, the L.A. Current and Cali Condors standing head and shoulders above their United States opposition, the D.C. Trident and New York Breakers. After holding their own with their European foes during the early stages of ISL competition, the Current and Condors proved themselves to be a cut above in stateside action.

After battling back and forth for much of the weekend, the Current emerged on top in the team race, largely behind the Skins victory from Beryl Gastaldello that yielded triple points for coach David Marsh’s squad. It also helped significantly that Michael Chadwick and Ryan Held advanced out of the first round of the men’s Skins, with Chadwick finishing in second place in the final, beaten by the MVP of the competition, Caeleb Dressel of the Condors.

The Week That Was #1: Sun Yang Hearing Finally Takes Place in Montreux

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Sun Yang and his legal team arrive for the hearing Photo Courtesy: Craig Lord

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

WADA challenged a FINA Doping Panel decision to caution Sun Yang on Friday over an acrimonious dispute with anti-doping testers last year which ended with neither urine nor blood samples being sent off for analysis and a vial of Sun’s blood smashed with a hammer by a security guard as the swimmer shone a smartphone torch on proceedings. WADA wishes to impose a penalty of between two and eight years on Sun Yang.

There will be no decision from the judging panel this year. A verdict is expected in January 2020, Court of Arbitration for Sport told the media gathered here this evening.

The hearing, the first to be held in public since the Michelle Smith de Bruin appeal in 1998, will decide who and how and when made mistakes – and whether the FINA Doping Panel went far enough – or not.

Sun’s mother, Dr. Ba Zhen (a twice banned doctor), and a senior anti-doping official who recently won a prize for his role as Sun’s “Chief Scientist”, were a part of the picture, as was a Doping Control Officer and two fellow Chinese assistants present for an argument that lasted for more than four hours through the night on September 4-5 last year near Sun’s home.

We heard the details of what the argument was about – and still is – with new information coming to light at the hearing. IDTM and WADA say that, no matter what Sun’s objections to identification and/or qualification papers presented, he could and should have submitted to testing and, in common with every other athlete in the world, followed protocol by submitting any remarks and complaints with the official paperwork of the testing visit.