Aussies upset after disputed record butterfly win

Updated: July 29, 2005, 5:43 PM ET
Associated Press

MONTREAL -- An Australia coach called for the use of video replay in swimming, saying it would have helped officials spot a disputed move by Polish swimmer Otylia Jedrzejczak during a world-record performance.

Jedrzejczak broke her own mark in the 200-meter butterfly Thursday night at the World Swimming Championships, beating Australia's Jess Schipper by only four-hundredths of a second.

Both swimmers went under the previous record, set by Jedrzejczak in 2002. The winning time was 2 minutes, 5.61 seconds.

Australian coach Alan Thompson cited video from an underwater camera that appeared to show Jedrzejczak reaching for the wall with her left hand, while her right arm was still at her side -- perhaps being used to propel her to the finish a little quicker.

Under butterfly rules, a swimmer must touch the wall with both hands at the same time.

Thompson said there was no need to file a protest with FINA, the sport's governing body, because officials couldn't use the replay to overturn the result.

The judges on deck didn't spot anything, and referee Ben Ekumbo of Kenya signed off on Jedrzejczak as the winner.

"It's always going to be a difficult situation under the current rules of swimming," Thompson said. "You can put a protest in, but unfortunately video evidence can't be used as evidence. If the referee had seen an infraction, they would have reported that."

Last week, the FINA congress voted against using replays to review races. Even if the measure had been approved, it wouldn't have been available for these championships.

"That's probably something we should be looking at in this sport," Thompson said. "Most sports nowadays have gone to video evidence to look at rule infractions or to double-check things, and I think it's probably time we went to that, as well."

The Australian complaint came up after Jedrzejczak had already addressed the media on her victory. She did not swim any events Friday.

Jedrzejczak, who blinked back tears on the medal stand, credited Schipper with pushing her to the record time.

"I don't think ... I can win this without Jessica," the winner said. "She swam with power."

Schipper wasn't upset by the result, and said she had no plans to talk to Jedrzejczak about the dispute.

"It was a three-second personal best," she said. "I'm over the moon about it."

But, back home in Australia, there was a different view of the race. The Sydney Morning Herald said in its story that Schipper was "robbed" of a gold medal.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press