Australian Olympic gold medalist Kylie Palmer, a member of Australia’s 4x200m freestyle relay team that won gold at Beijing in 2008, has accepted a provisional doping suspension for a positive drug test she returned almost two years ago.

The alleged doping offence pertains from a test taken at the 2013 world titles in Barcelona, where she won a 4x200m freestyle relay silver medal with Bronte Barratt, Brittany Elmslie, and Alicia Coutts.

Palmer stood down from the Australian swim team while strongly denying that she ever took a banned substance. In April this year, Kylie Palmer was notified her sample given in Barcelona at the 2013 world titles had tested positive for traces of a banned substance. Palmer’s B sample has been tested and returned another positive result.

It is believed that traces of the banned substances were so minute that FINA, the world governing body of swimming, initially opted against pressing any anti-doping violation and dismissed the case. However, FINA was told to investigate the matter further when the World Anti-Doping Agency reviewed all cases from the 2013 world titles. Palmer is now expected to face anti-doping tribunal hearing and could risk a possible ban of two years that would rule her out of a third Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year.

In a press statement, Swimming Australia said Kylie Palmer advises that she has voluntarily accepted a provisional suspension under the FINA Doping Control Rules pending determination of proceedings against her for a breach of those Rules. Swimming Australia did not specify the banned substance and said Kylie was notified on 13 April 2015 that a sample she provided at the Swimming World Championships in Barcelona nearly two years previously (i.e. on 31 July 2013) had tested positive to a minute trace of a prohibited substance. The statement added Kylie since that time has been endeavoring to investigate how this arose, a task that is almost impossible given the extraordinary passage of time and recent testing on the B Sample of the sample provided by Kylie on 31 July 2013 has also tested positive to a minute trace of the prohibited substance.

The Swimming Australia statement said Kylie categorically denies knowingly taking any prohibited substance in Barcelona in July 2013 or at any time in her career. It was also remarked that Kylie presently has no idea how the prohibited substance came into her system and is continuing to investigate the matter to the extent that she is able given the passage of time and Kylie has always been a strong supporter of the anti-doping measures undertaken by FINA and has prided herself on being a successful clean swimmer. It was also remarked that Kylie has chosen to withdraw from the Australian team for the upcoming Swimming World Championships in Russia in late July whilst she focuses on defending the FINA proceedings against her. The statement said she wishes all of her Australian teammates well and will support them from afar and will pursue her dream to represent Australia at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio once the FINA proceedings are dealt with.

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