The Vortex – January 2024 – CAS Hands Skater Valieva 4-Year Ban … & The Adults In Room?

2024-01-29 No comments Reading Time: 11 minutes
Warmonger Putin, skater Valieva. (Photo: President of Russia)

The Vortex is SOS’ digest and soak of swimming news, views and links to big events, with new snippets added most days and collated in one monthly file

Monday Vortex, January 29 – In a crushing blow for Vladimir Putin’s old-style propaganda approach to sport and its systematic doping of young athletes, figure skater Kamila Valieva has been handed a four-year suspension for her positive test in the run-up to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced just after 3pm today CET the verdict of Valieva’s appeal against decisions in a three-way dispute: Valieva V the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA); the International Skating Union (ISU) v. Kamila Valieva, Association Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA); World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) v. Association Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) & Kamila Valieva).

The Valieva Verdict

  • A period of four (4) years ineligibility is imposed on Ms Valieva, starting on 25 December 2021.
  • All competitive results of Ms Valieva from 25 December 2021 are disqualified, with all the resulting consequences (including forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, profits, prizes, and appearance money).

According to Clause 4.1 of the Russian ADR, athletes are responsible for any Prohibited Substance found to be present in their samples and the presence of any prohibited substance amounts to an ADRV. In this matter, a prohibited substance, Trimetazidine (TMZ), was found to be present in the sample collected from Ms Valieva on 25 December 2021 during the Russian National Championships in St Petersburg, Ms Valieva did not contest liability in that she accepted that, by reason of the presence of a TMZ in her sample, she had committed an ADRV under Clause 4.1 of the Russian ADR

The background at The Inquisitor

And my Vortex question: What About The Adults In The Room?

The case raises an age-old question: a teenage athlete is penalised because she tested positive but which of the adults in the room will be punished with her? As things stand, none. Neither the doctor(s) not the coach(es) nor the people in change of a sports system in Russia that has not only tolerated cheating but encouraged it.

The Winter Olympics of Sochi 2014, we recall, was the scandal that sparked the story of Icarus as the revelations of former Russia whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov shocked that part of the world for whom subterfuge in Olympic doping was new.

For those well read on GDR doping, a secret laboratory built next to the real IOC facility at Sochi came as little surprise. Fake power points in the wall were used to pass urine samples back and forth so that samples that risked proving Russian doping were exchanged with clean samples to show that all was well at the heart of Putin’s propaganda machine. State security officials were reported to have been present at the clandestine set-up, Rodchenkov reported.

Thursday Vortex, January 25

Emma McKeon Honoured As Young Australian Of The Year

Emma McKeon AM has been named Young Australian of the Year in the Australia Day Honours Down Under.

McKeon, 29, is Australia’s most-medalled Olympian at a single Games, her seven medals at Tokyo a record tally for women in swimming, too. McKeon said: “I am so humbled and honoured to have received this award, especially when you look at the calibre and achievements of the other nominees … it is a privilege to be alongside you all.”

“I am a very proud Australian, and honoured to be recognised by my country, and thankful for everyone who has supported me throughout my swimming career.

“I’ve been swimming for as long as I can remember, and I grew up being inspired by incredible athletes, putting a fire in my belly to go after my dreams and do something great with the power of determination and hard work. So going from that young girl to today, it’s still crazy to me that I have now done what I have in sport. And I want young kids to know that I was once in the same position they are- dreaming of one day doing something big. I want to have an impact on people’s lives by encouraging them to push hard and go after their dreams and what they are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to take on hard things and set aspirational goals, that may at time be scary. This is how we push ourselves to achieve our dreams.”

Emma McKeon – image by Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd

Australian Open Water Championships and OceanSwim Festival – Day 2

Results on day 2 at the Australian Open Water Championships and OceanSwim Festival at Busselton:
Boys 14yrs 5km Open Water

  1. William Thorpe (St Peters Western)
  2. Jayden Schipp (Revesby Workers)
  3. Finn Kelly (Lower Blue Mountains)

Boys 15yrs 5km Open Water

  1. Hayden Cahill (Yeronga Park)
  2. Riley Meares (St Peters Western)
  3. Oliver Browne (Shore Swimming)

Girls 14yrs 5km Open Water

  1. Olivia Galea (St Peters Western)
  2. Neela Carrel (Noosa)
  3. Maisie Langley (Carlile)

Girls 15yrs 5km Open Water

  1. Isobel Mulcahy (Carlile)
  2. Sophie Hebron (Albany Creek)
  3. Piper Cameron (Clovercrest)  

Mixed 4×1.25km Freestyle Relay

  1. Noosa (Ella Reynolds, Kilian Carrel, Madi Armstrong, Thomas Raymond)
  2. Japan ( Kaito Tsujimori, Miku Kojima, Misa Okuzono, Kazushi Imafuku)
  3. North Coast (Rosie Wilson, Sarah Felton, Adam Sudlow, Robert Bonsall)
  4. Westside Christchurch (Kristian Seidl, Bianco Monaco, Josie Page, Xavier Collins)

Wednesday Vortex, January 24

Martin & Raymond Take Debut Aussie 10km Titles

Tayla Martin and Thomas Raymond - debut Australian 10km titles at Busselton, January 2024 - The Vortex
Tayla Martin and Thomas Raymond – debut Australian 10km titles at Busselton, January 2024 – The Vortex

Tayla Martin and Thomas Raymond claimed their first national 10km Australian Open Water titles at Busselton today with the Noosa and Carlile club swimmers making the most of the first major Australian-based swimming event of the year.

Swimming Australia reports: Making their way through eight laps of the 1.25km course that wove its way under Busselton Jetty, Raymond held off Robert Bonsall to win the men’s in 1hr:53:23.83 while Martin was never headed in the women’s race, clocking 2hr:11:32.82.

This week’s Australian Open Water Championships and OceanSwim Festival has attracted record numbers with Australian World Cup swimmers like Raymond, Bonsall and Martin joining the likes of Dolphin Jack Wilson, internationals and rising stars.

The four days of swimming until January 27 will see more than 800 swimmers compete, and on the line today was selection for the World Junior Championships in Italy later this year.

With World Juniors head coach Mel Tantrum looking on, Sam Thorpe, Xavier Collins, Emily Broun and Sienna Deurloo all put their hands up for selection after respectively finishing first and second in the boys’ and girls’ 18-19 years 10km Open Water Category.

Joining them with the inside running for selection for Junior Worlds are: Luke Higgs, Lucas Fackerell, Daisy Quinn and Chloe Brodrick who went 1-2 in the boys’ and girls’ 16-17 years 7.5km swim.

Day 1 Podiums – Australian Open Water Champs
Men 10km Open Water
Thomas Raymond (Noosa) 1:53:23.83
Robert Bonsall (North Coast) 1:53:25.29
Kazushi Imafuku (Japan)1:56:38.39
Jack Wilson (North Coast) 1:56:38.41
*Wilson received the bronze as the third Australian

Women 10km Open Water
Tayla Martin (Carlile) 2:11:32.82
Misa Okuzono (Japan) 2:13:16.70
Rosie Wilson (North Coast) 2:13:32.94
Miku Kojima (Japan) 2:14:20.58
Katelyne Irwin (Sunshine Coast Grammar) 2:14:57.67
*Wilson and Irwin receive silver and bronze as next best placed Australians

Boys 18yrs 10km Open Water
Samuel Thorpe (St Peters Western) 1:56:18.38
Xavier Collins (Westside Christchurch) 1:56:18.69
Kristian Seidl (Westside Christchurch) 1:59:02.85

Girls 18yrs 10km Open Water
Taryn Roberts (Rocky City) 2:19:31.59
Esther Davies (Noosa) 2:21:33.88
Mackenzie Hunter (MLC Aquatic) 2:21:41.83

Boys 19yrs 10km Open Water
Tommy Lane (Cheltenham) 1:56:43.41
Dougal Richmond (Yeronga Park) 1:59:02.08
Callum Boyle (St Peters Western) 1:59:02.40

Girls 19yrs 10km Open Water
Emily Broun (Rackley Centenary) 2:15:38.88
Sienna Deurloo (Toowoomba Grammar) 2:16:46.80
Dakoda Mathers (Nunawading) 2:16:53.41
Boys 16yrs 7.5km
Luke Higgs (Warringah) 1:36:36.49
Nicholas Macher (Revesby Workers) 1:37:18.22
Jake Hammond (Sunshine Coast Grammar) 1:38:56.66

Boys 17yrs 7.5km
Lucas Fackerell (Breakers WA) 1:36:45.26
Thomas Dreverman (South Shore) 1:36:53.44
Samuel Zollner (South Shore) 1:38:57.45

Girls 16yrs 7.5km
Amelie Smith (Rocky City) 1:44:26.21
Rylee Smith (Redcliffe Leagues) 1:46:06.93
Sophie Jacka (Melbourne) 1:47:17.79

Girls 17 yrs 7.5km
Daisy Quinn (Sunshine Coast Grammar) 1:41:34.80
Chloe Brodrick (Ginninderra) 1:41:34.87
Macy Beuzeville (St Peters Western) 1:41:38.54

In other Swimming Australia news, Shaun Creighton has been appointed to one of two directors positions on the Board, in keeping with constitutional changes approved last October. 2023. Creighton is currently the Partner Director at Moulis Legal, where he leads the intellectual property, commercial and government procurement practices. More at the Swimming Australia website and the Board of Directors page.

Tuesday Vortex, January 23

Butterfly Pioneer Lance Larson Passes At 83

Lance Larson – Photo Courtesy: ISHOF film still

Lance Larson, the first swimmer to race inside the minute over 100m butterfly, has passed away at 83 years of age.

Here is the SOS tribute to Lance and his achievements I penned on his 80th birthday.

A polio survivor as a child, he grew to be a 6ft 1 sprinter to beat in the pool – and an American speedster granted Olympic silver in the 100m freestyle at the Rome 1960 Olympics even though he was the fastest man home. He claimed Olympic gold with teammates in the 4x100m free.

Lance Larson also excelled in college racing as a versatile multi-stroke/multi-event championship for the University of Southern Trojans.

After his racing days were done, Larson enjoyed a successful career in dentistry, serving with the United States Navy’s Dental Corps before running dental practices in Orange County between 1979 until he retired to Southern California’s desert community.

Formerly married to Betty Lee Puttler (1940-2007), Lance Larson is survived by his wife Sherrie, sons Lance Jr. (Margaret), Greg (Rachelle), Gary (Alissa), Randy (Kathryn), daughters Jairica Larson Fosburg (Matt), Danica Larson Juliano (Joe), step-daughters Erica Leon, Jessica Sherwood (Kevin), Monica Jara (Javier) and a large shoal of grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 11am on March 1 at the Garden Grove Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in Garden Grove, California. Contributions in memory of Lance M. Larson may be made to the Trojan Victory Fund supporting the University of Southern California Men’s and Women’s Swim & Dive Program.

Monday Vortex, January 22

The Wiffen Twins: Dan – How To Break A World Record

After his World-record-breaking and multi-gold winning efforts at the European short-course Championships last month, Daniel Wiffen talks us through the how, why, where, what and wherefores of magnificent efforts and his latest progress in the pool for Ireland and Loughborough, where he trains under the guidance of coach Andi Manley.

Wiffen’s distance crackers:

Dan Wiffen – World Record Holder: 7:20.46 Wipes 3sec Off Hackett’s 2008 Shiny 800 Epic

Dan Wiffen Writes Irish Swim History With 14:09 Triumph In Otopeni 1500 For Second Gold As 3rd Swiftest Man Ever

Return to the Vortex: After a break from regular coverage and Vortex columns on SOS in December so that Craig Lord could complete his second book project in a year, we’re back on the trail of The Wiffen Twins and guests with each YouTube vlog highlighted in our Vortex column all the way to Paris 2024.

The latest two vlogs – and Dan’s first two as a World record holder:

The In-House IOC Athlete Voice On Expression

The International Olympic Committee continues to make its in-house Athletes’ Commission the salesmen and women for its Olympics Guidelines on Athlete Expression with the release of the Paris 2024 edition.

Under pressure from independent athlete-representative groups and those backing peaceful forms of protest such as taking the knee, the IOC eased Rule 50 (athlete expression) before the COVID-delayed Tokyo 2020ne Olympic Games. The tweak too the rule allowed athletes to express their feelings on the field of play before competition as long as they did not target “people, countries, organisations, and/or their dignity,” and their protest was not disruptive.

Restrictions were still stringent when it came to athletes being allowed to openly express their opposition to human rights abuses in hoist countries at moments when the world media has the lights on and protest reaches its biggest audience.

T-shirts stating “peace” are allowed. Specific campaigning or highlighting of specific conflicts is not. The IOC Athletes’ Commission says that it developed the latest guidelines after consulting more than 3,500 athletes, about a third of the numbers of athletes expected at the Paris Olympic Games and fewer than 10 per cent of world-class athletes across the globe who don’t get to go to the Games under two-per-nation-per-event rules. The IOC athletes claim that 70% of respondents (it is not clear how many responded) said that they didn’t want athletes to demonstrate during competition or official ceremonies.

That stands in stark contrast to the athlete support shown by many during peaceful protests such as those staged by Mack Horton and Duncan Scott when faced with the presence of Sun Yang at a time the Chinese controversy was heading for a Court of Arbitration hearing that would end with him being handed a second career penalty for violation of the WADA Code.

More USA Paris 2024 Podium Shots Bypass Doha Intercalated World Titles

Paris 2024 Olympic hopefuls Katie Grimes and Claire Weinstein as well as Will Gallant have withdrawn from the Team USA roster for the Doha Intercalated World Aquatics Championships, which get underway in just over a week’s time in Doha, with swimming due to begin on February 11.

The USA has also added teenagers Lilla Bognar, Kayla Han, Kate Hurst, and Addison Sauickie to its women’s team for a championship that will feature far more development and junior swimmers and far fewer top names in peak form than usual for a global long-course showcase.

In order for pandemic-delayed contracts to be fulfilled, Qatar is staging the event as the third of four World Championships to be held in successive years between 2022 and 2025. It will be the first time that the championships have been held in Olympic years, the first time they’ve been held in the Middle East and the first time that the entry will not reflect the very best swimmers available aiming for their annual highlight.

That will be the Paris 2024 Olympic Games but relays not yet qualified for the Games must do so in Doha. Top names who must go to Doha for that reason have confirmed that they use the event as an “in-season” (non-peak race test) meet.

Sunday Vortex, January 21

Nicole & Michael Phelps Celebrate Arrival Of Son No4, Nico

Nicole and Michael Phelps with son No4, Nico – images courtesy of the couple’s social media posts

Nicole (Johnson) and Michael Phelps welcomed their fourth son, Nico Michael Phelps, to the world on January 16. “We’re so blessed to be given a 4th child. We’re now a family of 6!” the most decorated Olympian in history posted on social media with images of the newborn with mom and dad.

Not every day that the Vortex gets to report on a relay building in just one household but here it is: Nico follows Boomer, 7, Beckett, 5, and Maverick, 4, Boomer the baby who muscled in on many of the shots of Michael and Nicole at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the year the couple got married and the season in which Phelps regained the ultimate crown in his signature event, the 200m butterfly.

Recalling Victor Davis

Former Canadian international and now coach in the UK, Gary Vandermeulen pens a fine piece at his swimcoachingblog in which he recalls the late Victor Davis from a different perspective, the moment a champion makes a mistake and feels the heat of domestic defeat.

“Then it happened. A race that still rocks my brain. Victor, who had not rested for the Trials, had not thought he needed to, was totally focused on the September Olympics, took control of the race. He split a 100 time that was not too far off the 100 world record. Maybe a slightly cocky split time to show-off a bit to his international friends. Two young boys from Calgary and Stettler Alberta weren’t too far from him at the 150m turn. 

“I think that at that 150m turn Victor realised he had made a mistake. In his mind he started to be chased. Two boys, like two hungry young mountain lions, were hunting him. Victor had gone out too fast. He started to fade. And at that point in my life, as Victor’s perfect stroke began to slip water, I realised that sometimes even a giant can be beaten if they look back.”

In full at swimcoachingblog If you have a link you think would lead readers to fine insight from swimmers and coaches, please drop me a line at and we’ll include as many good suggestions as possible.

Saturday Vortex, January 20

DOJ, Three More States & District of Columbia Join Suit Against NCAA Transfer Rule

The NCAA, facing a $4bn-plus bill after losing a class-action backpay battle with swimmer Grant House (see below), is facing more challenges. The Department of Justice, three more states and the District of Columbia have joined a lawsuit against the NCAA’s transfer eligibility rule, AP reports.

The federal agency signed on to the action, saying in its announcement this week that the NCAA rule on transfers is “an illegal restraint on college athletes’ ability to sell their image and likeness and control their education. The DOJ said attorneys general from the states of Minnesota, Mississippi, Virginia, and the District of Columbia have also signed on to the suit.

“There is strength in numbers,” said Ohio attorney general Dave Yost, who along with six other states, filed the original suit on Dec. 7 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. The AP report in full.

A trial date in the case has yet to be scheduled. Along with Ohio, the other states on the original lawsuit are Colorado, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Friday Vortex, January 19

Grant House Wins Class-Action Battle For Backpay; NCAA Facing $4bn+ Bill

The NCAA has lost its appeal against class certification in former Arizona State swimmer Grant House’s lawsuit seeking name, image, and likeness backpay. The appeal was rejected by the Ninth Circuit yesterday, a decision that the NCAA estimates will cost it more than $4 billion. House was granted class-action status in November 2023 on behalf of almost 15,000 “Power-Five” college athletes who competed between 2016 and 2021.

Rie Mastentroek-Associated Gold Medal From Berlin 1936 Nazi Olympics Raises $43K at Auction

An Olympic gold medal accompanied by the signature of Dutch swimming ace Rie Mastenbroek, winner of three titles at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games, has sold at auction for $43,161. The auctioneer’s note states:

“Rare winner’s medal for the Berlin 1936 Summer Olympics. Gilt silver, 57 mm, 73 gm, by Giuseppi Cassioli. The front, inscribed, “XI. Olympiad, Berlin, 1936,” features a ‘Seated Victory’ with the Coliseum in the background; the reverse portrays a winner carried by jubilant athletes; and the bottom edge engraved, “B. H. Mayer, Pforzheim, 990.” Exhibits some wear to gilt on the edges. Complete with its hinged leather case, gilt-stamped on the lid with the emblem of the Games. A superior first-place winner’s medal from the controversial 1936 Berlin Olympics. Accompanied by the ink signature of Dutch swimmer Rie Mastenbroek, who won gold medals in 100 m freestyle, 400 m freestyle, and 4×100 m freestyle at the Berlin Games.”

If you have a link you think would lead readers to fine insight from swimmers and coaches, please drop me a line at and we’ll include as many good suggestions as possible.

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