Brazil: Injury has forced Bruno Fratus, the Brazilian sprinter based at the ADN Project in Europe, to withdraw from the SwimCup Eindhoven in the Netherlands this week. Coach Andrea Di Nino told SwimNews that Fratus's recovery programme is designed to make sure the sprinter is in good shape for the Brazilian nationals, the Maria Lenk Trophy, towards the end of the month. Fratus is the biggest domestic threat to 2008 Olympic 50m free champion Cesar Cielo and is an important component of Brazil's sprint relay force.
USA: Disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong is signed up to swim the 500-, 1,000- and 1,650-y freestyle at the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships at the University of Texas this weekend. There is no anti-doping testing in US Masters Swimming and USADA rules do not apply, which is why Armstrong's lifetime ban from cycling, after he cheated and lied for more than a decade, do not apply in the competition pool for 25 and overs no longer eligibly for the elite race pool. Masters in swimming is not like masters in golf: there are plenty of fit folk and former champs from the elite pool in the mix but swimming masters is more age-related, a place where 'swimming is for life' and 'fitness is fun' come into their own. Armstrong has a right to keep fit. Many feel he has forfeited his right to compete with other athletes in any sport given the mire he sank himself into and helped sink cycling into in the bargain. While there is no anti-doping in masters swimming, FINA can bar Armstrong from its events under General Rules that disallow "Cheating, including but not limited to doping ...". Should Armstrong ever face prosecution in the wake of investigations into his conduct in the US, FINA rules could bar him on grounds of any conviction that may result. Under by-laws, FINA has the power to ban anyone who has been "convicted of a criminal offence".