AUSTRALIAN swimmer Andrew Burns has been banned for three months for testing positive to a banned stimulant, Australian Swimming Inc. (ASI) said. Burns, a 20-year-old member of Australia's national swim squad, returned a positive test result to two banned stimulants, one of them the recreational drug ecstacy, ASI said in a statement.

His suspension came into force from August 1 and expires on November 1, 2003. Burns, a backstroker, was tested by the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA) on June 21 at a Sydney Grand Prix meet.

"Andrew's ban prevents him from all official training with the NSW Sports Institute and Australian Swimming and all competition and is also required to repay the $800 he won at the Sydney Grand Prix and his payment from his Direct Athlete Support payment for the period July-September 2003," Australian Swimming chief executive Glenn Tasker said.

Burns said in a statement: "I would like to say that I received a fair hearing by Australian Swimming and I accept the sanction that has been handed down. I just want the next two months to go as quickly as possible so I can rejoin the sport I love so much and I want to apologise to my family and friends and the swimming community in general for any embarrassment I have caused them."