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Swiss swimmers to take extra doping tests

Nine of Switzerland's top swimmers will take part in a special anti-doping programme as part of their preparations for the 2012 London Olympics.

The country's swimming federation on Friday said that the athletes would give regular blood and urine samples for three years so that scientists can analyse their individual body chemistry for traces of banned drugs and blood treatments.

Steffen Liess, the federation's performance director, said doping was a burning issue in swimming because Fina, swimming's governing body, did not yet operate a biological passport program.

"Swiss Swimming is showing that we can actively work against doping instead of just satisfying ourselves by saying we are clean," Liess said in a statement.

Tests in the "Clean Water" campaign will be done by a Lausanne laboratory accredited by the World anti-Doping Agency. The same facility helped the International Cycling Union set up a pioneering passport project that monitors 850 professional riders.

"It's necessary to keep up with international developments in the fight against doping," said Matthias Kamber, director of Anti-Doping Switzerland. "What's more, we'll have an exchange of scientific experience."

Switzerland did not win any medals in the 34 swimming events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. and agencies