SHANGHAI -- Swimming's governing body has decided to adopt a biological passport program to combat doping, little more than a week after Cesar Cielo was cleared to compete at the world championships.
"We have approved to start building the results here," FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu told The Associated Press at the world championships Saturday. "It's a complex process."
First used in cycling, biological passports contain detailed accounts of athletes' blood profiles, variations of which could indicate doping.
"That's a great idea," said Olympic 1,500 freestyle champion Ous Mellouli of Tunisia. "Obviously, the doping problem in swimming has become clearly an issue, especially with inconsistent rulings as far as FINA is concerned with a couple of the last cases."
Cielo was cleared last week following an emergency hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, sparking criticism from other swimmers.
FINA had challenged a Brazilian federation decision to give Cielo only a warning after he tested positive for furosemide, a banned diuretic and masking agent, at a meet in Rio de Janeiro in May.
Cielo said he consumed the drug in a contaminated batch of a food supplement he regularly used.
Other recent doping cases involving furosemide have seen athletes banned for up to 14 months.
"It's always a good thing when (anti-doping) gets more specific and we can ensure that all the athletes are clean," said Canadian swimmer Ryan Cochrane, who won silver here in the 800 free. "It is a hard process, but hopefully that will streamline the entire process."
Mellouli was banned for 18 months and stripped of his 800 free title at the 2007 worlds in Melbourne, Australia, after it was revealed he tested positive for amphetamines at a meet in Indiana in 2006. He was studying at the University of Southern California at the time and admitted taking an Adderall pill to avoid falling asleep so he could finish writing a report for school.
"It was kind of a tough ruling for the substance that I took and for the circumstances that I took them in," Mellouli said. "When you look at other cases it's just inconsistency. That's what we're concerned (about), we want to keep all the rulings fair for everybody.
"When it comes to testing, the more the better so we can keep this sport clean," Mellouli added.
According to Swimnews.com, American standout Ryan Lochte will be the first athlete to have his passport stamped by FINA's doping control review board.
Cochrane gave blood and urine samples to officials after the 800.
"It was a really easy process," he said. "When they get good blood testers that don't give you bruises it's great."