World Cup VIII: German Coach Accuses Thorpe of Doping

Sheffield, England – Lenny Krayzelburg and Martina Moravcova racked up two more victories apiece on the second day of competition at the eighth stop on the World Cup tour, but the action in the Ponds Forge pool in Sheffield, England, was overshadowed by accusations of doping. Manfred Thiesmann, coach of the German team, accused Australian teen sensation, Ian Thorpe, of using performance-enhancing drugs to achieve his spectacular performances.

The accusation was met by an immediate and angry denial Don Talbot, head Australian coach, and by a strong statement in support of Thorpe by Swimming World Magazine.

“A lot of people suspect him (Thorpe) of doping,” Thiesmann was quoted as saying. “When I was sitting on the coaches’ bench in Sydney at the World Cup, every coach wondered how it was possible.”

Thiesmann also suggested the margins by which Thorpe was breaking records were similar to those by which Chinese swimmers set new standards at the Rome world championships in 1994.

Thorpe issued a denial, saying “taking drugs is inexcusable,” and Talbot pointed out that Thorpe, along with other members of the Australian team, took part in the first experimental blood testing procedures in an all-out effort to stamp out drug cheats. He also called for mandatory blood testing.

Phillip Whitten, editor of Swimming World, the magazine of record in the sport of swimming, said: “There is absolutely no reason to suspect Ian Thorpe is doping. Detailed underwater stroke analysis shows he has extraordinary technique; in addition, he exhibits none of the physical signs of drug use. His physical attributes, natural talent, excellent coaching and superior technique entirely account for his superb performances.”

Meanwhile, in the water, Thorpe won the 200m freestyle in 1:44.82, while American world record-holder Lenny Krayzelburg added wins in the 50 (24.39) and 200m backstroke (1:53.96).

Slovakia’s Martina Moravcova won two events, giving her four wins for the two day meet. The former SMU star won the women’s 100 free (54.51) and 100 IM (1:01.34).

South African Terence Parkin took the men’s 100m breast (1:01.48) and 200 IM (1:57.87) to complete a sweep of the medley events. China’s Jiang Chengji won the 50 free (21.97) while American Tyler Painter touched out France’s Guy-Noel Schmitt to win the 1500 meters (14:57.20).

James Hickman, second to Parkin in the 100 IM, took the 100 fly in 51.68, almost two seconds in front of Germany’s Christian Keller.

In the women’s competition, Britain’s Rebecca Cooke made it a sweep of the distance events by winning the 400 free in 4:09.24, just 5-hundredths ahead of Canada’s Laura Nicholls. Australia’s Dyana Calub won the 100 back in 59.57.

South Africa’s Sarah Poewe notched a win in the 50 breast in a swift 31.33, then finished second to Poland’s Alicja Peczak in the 200 breast (2:24.29).

American Ashley Tappin breezed to a win in the 50 fly (26.99), well ahead of South Africa’s Mandy Loots. In the 200 fly, it was Canada’s Jennifer Button who touched first in a strong 2:08.70, just ahead of Loots (2:09.22), who finished second in all three fly events–each time behind a different swimmer.

American Maddy Crippen, second yesterday in the 200 IM, was unstoppable today in the 400 IM, her 4:39.59 almost four seconds ahead of Germany’s Sabine Klenz in second.