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
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
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
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.