Aussie swimmers banned for drugs

SYDNEY -- Six Australian swimmers at the center of a prescription drug scandal before the London Olympics were fined and given a suspended ban Friday by Swimming Australia.

Five of the six swimmers -- Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett, James Magnussen, Cameron McEvoy and Tommaso D'Orsogna -- had admitted they took the sleep medication Stilnox, banned by the Australian Olympic Committee, during a bonding session at a pre-Olympic camp in Manchester last July.

The sixth man, James Roberts, denied taking the drug, but admitted he was one of those who disturbed other swimmers with door-knocking and prank calls. There were further allegations of inappropriate behavior toward at least one female swimmer.

A panel chaired by former Australian Rugby Union chairman Peter McGrath was set up to investigate misbehavior at the camp, particularly within the men's 400-meter freestyle relay team. It found that the six swimmers "failed to demonstrate the level of conduct required" of members of the team.

The AOC said in a statement following Friday's decision that it had not completed its investigation of the incidents.

The deferred suspensions clear the way for the swimmers to compete at next week's Australian titles, which double as qualifiers for the world championships in Barcelona in late July.