U.S. Masters Swimming Bans Lance Armstrong From Competition

SARASOTA, Florida, April 4. A few hours after FINA, the global organization that oversees aquatic sports, sent a letter to U.S. Masters Swimming recommending that Lance Armstrong be denied permission to swim in a Masters meet this weekend, USMS has banned the former cyclist from any future Masters swim meets.

Below is the official press release from USMS:

Lance Armstrong is not eligible to race in U.S. Masters Swimming competitions.

The former competitive cyclist has been a member of U.S. Masters Swimming for several years. The spirit and purpose of USMS is to encourage adults to swim.

USMS is affiliated with FINA (Federation Internationale de Natacion) through United States Aquatic Sports.

When we became aware that Mr. Armstrong entered the 2013 South Central Zone Championship in Austin, Texas, April 5–7, a local event sanctioned by USMS, we contacted United States Aquatic Sports and FINA to clarify our responsibilities in this case. The event in question is conducted in a 25-yard pool, a non-Olympic course not contested on the international stage.

After discussion with United States Aquatic Sports and FINA, it was agreed that although Mr. Armstrong is eligible for membership in U.S. Masters Swimming, he is not currently eligible to compete in sanctioned swimming competitions, regardless of the type of course.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned Mr. Armstrong from competition. FINA accepts the WADA Code and USMS, as a member of United States Aquatic Sports, recognizes and respects adjudications under the Code.

As reported earlier today, Armstrong withdrew from the South Central Zone championships after entering in three distance freestyle events. Rob Butcher, the executive director for USMS, said Armstrong's withdrawal from the meet was independent of a letter FINA sent to USMS requesting that Armstrong not be allowed to compete.