On January 10, 1998, the swimmer Mrs. Michelle Smith de Bruin (IRL) had to undergo an unannounced doping control in her home in Dublin (IRL), as part of the FINA Out-of-Competition Doping Control Programme. The sample was tested in the IOC Accredited Laboratory in Barcelona (ESP). On January 30, 1998, the laboratory informed FINA that:
"Unequivocal signs of adulteration have been found in sample coded A074396. The content of alcohol of the sample (concentration higher than 100mg/ml) is in no way compatible with human consumption and the sample shows a very strong whiskey odour. Its low specific gravity (0.983 g/ml) is also compatible with physical manipulation."
The analysis of the B-sample was performed on May 21, 1998. The results were in agreement with those found in the corresponding A-sample.
A hearing before the FINA Doping Panel was held on July 24, 1998 in Lausanne (SUI). The swimmer attended the hearing and she was represented by her lawyer. The swimmer stressed the fact that no banned substance has been detected in her urine. She asserts that from her side there was no physical manipulation of the sample.
The FINA Doping Panel found that:
The Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur - FINA DOPING PANEL has decided to suspend the swimmer for a period of four (4) years from competing in any national or international competition.
Mrs. de Bruin is suspended for having committed a doping offence under FINA Rule DC 1.2 (b) -
"a competitor uses or takes advantage of a banned procedure" and under FINA Rule DC 3.1 (b) -
"use of substances and methods which alter the integrity and validity of urine samples used in doping control".
The sanction shall be in force immediately from today, August 6, 1998, the date of this judgement.
End of Official Statement
Smith-de Bruin has previously stated her innocence and that she would fight the charges to the International Sports Court in Switzerland if neccessary.