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Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 17:38 UK

Swim star Bree fails drugs test

Andrew Bree
Andrew Bree had qualfied for the Beijing Olympics

Ireland swimmer Andrew Bree has tested positive for a banned substance.

Governing body Swim Ireland revealed that the County Down man was tested at the European Short Course Championships in Hungary in December 2007.

Bree, who is based at the University of Tennessee, has been informed of the positive test and his participation in the Olympics must now be in doubt.

Bree clinched Olympic qualification in July 2007 when taking part in the 200m breaststroke at the US Nationals.

The 26-year-old broke the three-year old Irish senior record by achieving a time of two minutes 13.44 seconds.

There has been no official confirmation of what substance has shown up in the test but it is believed it could be something that may be found in a cough medicine or medical decongestant.

Swim Ireland, the governing body of the sport, have said they are also aware of a positive test after being informed of the test findings.

The Irish sports council say they have received notice of the positive test on an Irish swimmer from FINA, the world governing body.

It is believed Bree can now ask the FINA to analyse the B sample he gave to drugs testers or choose a hearing to argue his case, with the latter being the more likely scenario.

Bree is the only Irish swimmer to have qualified for the Beijing Olympics but cannot now take part in any competition until his name is cleared.

A statement released on behalf of the Bree family on Wednesday night, said:

"We believe that this negative test is the result of Andrew unwittingly taking a stimulant contained within an over-the-counter decongestant.

"Andrew has never knowingly taken a banned substance and abhors the use of performance enhancing drugs.

"He will move to clear his name as quickly as possible so that he can continue preparations for the Beijing Olympics."

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