/ Swimming

Irish Olympic hopeful suspended by College

Updated: Monday, 09 Jan 2012 16:03

Ryan Harrison - Suspended by the University of Tennessee
Ryan Harrison - Suspended by the University of Tennessee

By John Kenny

Ryan Harrison, who was hopeful of making the Irish swim team for the London Olympics has been suspended from championship meets by his US College Swim Team at the University of Tennessee for the rest of the season for what has been described as a "violation of team rules".

While it unclear exactly which rules Harrison violated, the 22-year-old from Derry released a statement denying the used of illegal substances

Harrison insisted: "During my time at UT I have never tested positive for any illegal substances and have taken many drug tests for the university, just like any other student athlete."

A statement from his lawyer Donald A Bosch added: "I stand by and confirm his (Harrison's) account of his suspension from the UT swimming program for the balance of the season for a violation of team rules."

Harrison was expected to be the anchor of the Tennessee team at championship meets and is due to swim at a grand prix meet in Indianapolis in March as he attempts to make the Irish team for London.

While he is suspended from swimming with Tennessee, he is still training with the College and is eligible to compete in international meets.

"I called Ryan when I heard this story and while he didn't elaborate, he insisted that it was purely for a violation of team rules," said Peter Banks, Ireland's high performance swimming coach who is currently in Florida with four other Irish swimmers at a training camp.

"We also have had no indication of any drug allegations being leveled against Ryan Harrison from either FINA or WADA and I’m happy that he has not violated any Swim Ireland rules."

Meanwhile the Knoxville Police Department has launched a criminal investigation into the actions of John Trembley; the former head coach for the University of Tennessee's men's swimming team, who was fired earlier this week.

Officials did not elaborate on what exactly Trembley had done which lead to his termination.

"The finding of gross misconduct led us to turn this case over to the proper law enforcement authorities. Since this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment further," said a Tennessee University spokesperson.

Trembley, who has previously coached Andrew Bree, had been the head coach for the men's swimming and diving program at Tennessee since 1988.