Compelling case that she cheated

The Herald reports:

Kiwi age-group triathlete is devastated after being suspended for two years by Triathlon New Zealand for providing an incorrect time at a world championship event.

Her Auckland coach is adamant Stretton is capable of swimming the time and said she wasn’t given a chance to defend herself at the TriNZ disciplinary commission.

The commission handed down a two year ban from all competitions after finding Stretton’s time was not genuine and that it was likely she acted deliberately, given the absence of any explanation to the contrary.

Stretton, a physical education teacher at Onehunga High School, posted a swim time of 55min 27secs for 4km in the 30-34 age group at the Oklahoma ITU long distance world championships in September. She was more than eight minutes faster than the leading elite female at the end of the swim.

Not only was she faster than the leading elite female, she was faster than the leading elite man.

The full report is online here and a good read. First there is some form:

That at a previous event in New Zealand (the 2015 Taupo Ironman 70.3 Event) Ms Stretton had an initial swim time corrected by race management following discovery that she had started the race in a bunch earlier than she should have.

And how did she do at Taupo:

That at Taupo this resulted in a corrected swim time for Ms Stretton of 41:12. This compared, for example, to the fastest swim by an Elite Man (Dylan McNeice) of 23:43

Around half the speed of McNeice.

At Oklahoma, Mr McNeice was one of the three Elite Men to post the fastest swim time in their section of 56:47. Suggesting Ms Stretton had to have swum a full minute faster than him to complete the swim in Oklahoma in the time recorded and subsequently claimed by her;

So that is a huge improvement!

What is likely to have happened in this case is that Ms Stretton identified a time that she thought she could swim the required distance, and then orchestrated her swim to try and match that time. It is not clear how this would have been done, but we do note that the swim was a two-lap event, and the swimmers were not required to exit the water between laps. That, coupled with the absence of any mechanism to check her completion of the two laps (including the absence of any GPS data) means it is entirely possible that she orchestrated the swim of one lap in the time she hoped people would accept as a possible time for two.

If there was no checking you had done two laps, then easy to do.

Also of interest:

The Commission has been made aware that Ms Stretton has previously been suspended by TriNZ for a breach of TriNZ’s rules and regulations. That was for dishonestly representing that she had been selected for a TriNZ Elite team, and included the fabrication of a letter on TriNZ letterhead for provision to a third party. In the present circumstances Ms Stretton does not come before us therefore with a ‘clean record.

Pretty compelling case.

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