British Swimming requests clarification from FINA on the return of Larisa Ilchenko  Posted By: Mark Cuban

British Swimming has requested clarification from international aquatics sport governing body, Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) on the return of Russian open water expert, Larisa Ilchenko.

Ilchenko, who was considered retire as of March 2011, told a local news agency about her plans for the 2012 London Olympic Games. SwimNews has confirmed her return to swimming from FINA, which said, “She never officially announced her retirement to FINA.”

The 22-year-old Russian stayed away from competitive swimming after 2009 World Championships and currently, she is undergoing a cure for Thyroid Gland trouble.

FINA has imposed no restrictions on her comeback to open water swimming and said that the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) last examined her for a drug test in July 2010. However, WADA deploys Therapeutic Use Exemption to athletes, who may require certain prohibited drugs to cure their illness.

Ilchenko, who is the eight-time world champion and one time Olympic gold medallist remained undisputed in 5km and 10km disciplines from 2004 to 2008 while she lost her 5km from Melissa Gorman of Australia at the 2009 World Championships.

With her astounding career, she is a real threat to the current female open water champions. She is considered one of the strongest competitors of Gorman and Britain’s Keri Anne Payne, who are now the elite swimmers of open water swimming.

Meanwhile, performance director of British Swimming, Michael Scott raised his concern on her comeback and drug test.

“We would like to ask FINA some serious questions about why this swimmer has spent so long out of the testing pool, the circumstances of her 'retirement' and whether she will be returned to the testing pool immediately given the rules by which all athletes must abide. For the sake of fair play, conditions should be the same for all athletes." Scott said.

With his concern, Scott awaits FINA’s response as he argued that the recent comebacks of Ian Thorpe and Libby Trickett have also experienced a drug test before they leap into competitive swimming.

more stories on Larissa on