FINA Applies Provisional Suspension to World Record Holder Yulia Efimova

In the first official recognition and acknowledgement that Russian superstar swimmer and World Record holder Yulia Efimova actually tested positive for a banned substance, FINA has leveled a “Provisional Suspension” upon the swimmer as of January 21st, 2014.

The reports of a positive test first came out a week ago in a Russian newspaper, though since then Russian authorities have been carefully cautioning the public against putting too much stock in the report.

But now, with FINA confirmation of a positive test for the Anabolic Steroid DHEA, the details have been confirmed. Efimova was hit with a out-0f-competition doping control test, by FINA, in Los Angeles, where she trains with the Trojan Swim Club.

In the meanwhile, she has been provisionally suspended yet without a hearing before FINA, and that suspension for now will last at least until that hearing is set. This means that Efimova will be out of competition at least temporarily, though history says this period would count as ‘time served’ if a longer suspension is placed upon her.

Since that positive test, we now know that Efimova earned four European Short Course Championship gold medals and a silver as part of a hugely successful winter for the Russians. That includes two medley relay golds. She also broke World Records in the 50 breast and the 200 breast in short course meters after the test: records that as of now still stand.

Efimova would be the first World Championship medalist to be suspended, albeit provisionally, since Denmark’s Mads Glaesner in 2013, though Efimova is an even more significant world player. She’s also the 4th member of the Russian Olympic swim team to fail a doping control test.

The full statement by FINA is below.

On October 31, 2013 a swimmer Yuliya Efimova (RUS) was tested positive to the substance 7-keto-DHEA (Class S.1.1.b Endogenous Anabolic Androgenic Steroids) with the occasion of the FINA out-of-competition doping control test in Los Angeles (USA).

Following the results management process and in accordance with the FINA DC Rule 7.1.11, the FINA Executive decided to impose a Provisional Suspension on the athlete until a hearing before the FINA Doping Panel can be made. The Provisional Suspension started on January 21, 2014.


  1. sigh, it was inevitable

  2. Philip Johnson says:

    And the next step would be stripping her medals and annulling her world records? Eh, that’s probably too optimistic.

  3. bobo gigi says:

    I hope she will have at least a 2-year suspension.
    And will lose her medals and world records from the short course season.
    Zero tolerance!

    • SprintDude9000 says:

      I agree.

      Interestingly, the other swimmer mentioned in the article also trained at Trojans…

    • aswimfan says:

      I agree.
      I hope she gets the full two years suspension.
      It is heartbreaking that a swimmers could just cheat their way to records and gold medals, and then still be able to compete in the next Olympics.

    • Lynn A says:

      I agree !
      And hope she pays back all the money she won he the Asia legs of the world cups , so it can be given to the rightful winners , $22500 I believe !!

  4. Philip Johnson says:

    And this has effectively shaken my confidence with the Russians. I love Vlad, but now I’m starting to think, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

    • DanishSwimFan says:

      I’m not naive and under any illusions that there are plenty of dopers out there, but you just have to enjoy athletes performances until it’s proven that they have been doping otherwise it destroys your interest in the sport. I used to be very into athletics but now I can’t really stomach watching it for this reason, and I’m determined that this won’t happen with swimming.

      So enjoy Vlad and trust he is clean. For now.

      For what it’s worth I really hope Efimova is just guilty of being stupid with supplement use, as I have been utterly transfixed with her breaststroke duels with Meilutyte and RMP this year. But at the same time, if she has been intentionally doping, yeah, throw the book at her.

      • ah. a european. i was wondering what you were talking about with ‘athletics’. haha. i too was big into track and feild, and it was my main sport in middle school, but i like the kids on the swim team better and never looked back. then in college i saw how bad the runners abused their bodies with ‘supplements’ and starvation diets. i saw very little in swimming. but i wasn’t really top notch swimming school or conference.

        i agree however athletics on the international level are beyond crisis with doping, as is cycling. i hope swimming will never reach that level

        • DanishSwimFan says:

          Haha sorry I sometimes forget to adjust my language for a US website. It doesn’t help I have worked on and off in the UK for many years and am married to a British woman who is mostly responsible for my grasp of English idiom :-)

    • Rafael says:

      And maybe confidence with all Salo Team.. but other russian is also a Trojan as said by Sprintdude..

      This is probably the team with most doping cases.. and who know how clean all USC are by now?

  5. Breaststroker says:

    Does anyone check if she is actually still training while under this provisional suspension? Because it is against WADA rules to train with any sanctioned team or coach while suspended. But lets be serious, she will keep right on training with all the rest of the cheaters in Trojans. Hardy never stopped training, it should have (if they actually followed the doping rules) made the rest of her team unable to compete, but nope instead she came back a week after her suspension was over and broke the WR. Now if you’re not allowed to train with anyone during that time, how do you break a WR after a week of training??

  6. UKSwimmer says:

    Just to clarify, are you saying Sergey Makov also trains with Salo or am I misunderstanding?

    • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:

      I think that specific comment was referring the the Glaesner reference in the article, as Makiv was not mentioned in this, rather named in a separate, article.

      We are checking on where Makov trained.

      • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:

        Everyone we’ve spoken to in the Trojan group says that Markov is not familiar to them.

        Which is not to say that we can confirm that he’s never been there in 28 years, but he’s not a part “of the training group”.

  7. John26 says:

    Efimova and Morozov are only 2 of the swimmers to have dropped a huge chunk of time in the last 14 months. Also consider Izotov who lopped off almost 1.5s in the 200free after appearing to have stagnated over the last 2 years. Anyways, Russian performances this year did look have have jump a step forward, but that seems natural considering a home WC in two years time. What appears fishy to me is that all these top players dropped so much time simultaneously. Then again, it isn’t the first time this has happened.

  8. bobo gigi says:

    I’m tired of the supplements’ excuse.
    It’s always the same!
    Please, dopers, be more inventive. :)
    And if it’s the good reason, it seems that you are very naive or completely stupid.
    There are plenty of smart and cautious athletes in the world.
    Among them, one of my favorite track athletes, Allyson Felix.
    I’ve read recently she didn’t take absolutely nothing, even simple vitamins, because she had zero confidence.
    Perhaps sometimes she has been beaten by several cheaters in her glorious career (I’m even sure), but at least we will never have a bad surprise with her.

    • DanishSwimFan says:

      I said on another swimming website that I don’t think ‘I took a contaminated supplement’ should even be considered a mitigating excuse anymore. Swimmers have been warned, repeatedly, about taking supplements, and they shouldn’t even need them anyway.
      Time to stop giving them an easy way out.

    • Peterdavis says:

      You are very naive in this subject. From the not understanding that a vast majority of adult athletes take heavy supplementation just to survive what competition and training has evolved to become, to your deifying of Felix, whose coach is a famous drug cheat. I mean, there are families out there that still blame Bobby Kersee for the premature deaths of their loved ones who attended his ‘camps’ in the 80s that were advertised and centered around heavy, heavy steroid use. But, you know, let’s give him and Felix a free pass, even encourage them, and pile on Salo and Trojan. Sometimes I feel like I’m taking crazy pills over here.

      • DanishSwimFan says:

        Still amazes me when I come across people who insist Florence Griffith-Joyner was clean…

      • ChestRockwell says:

        You can’t hide from the truth
        Because the truth is all there is

        • ChestRockwell says:

          BTW – if I’m a level 11 hipster, what does that make you?

          • Peterdavis says:

            Lol. Since I lived in Manhattan and not Brooklyn, and had a job, I definitely am not a hipster. But since I was dangerously close to the upper west side, I guess I’m a lvl 3 trust-fund-dbag. Lvl 3 only because I don’t actually have a trust-fund, and am just a dbag part-time.

      • ChestRockwell says:

        HA! If gainful employment makes one not a hipster, I just got dropped from level 11 to non-hipster. I lived on the LES and Chelsea, the UWS is way way way better than the uncivil UES.

        • Peterdavis says:

          Lol. Well I must admit, my apartment was midtown, 9th ave in the 50s, but I thought a Gordon Ramsey or Gangs of New York joke might fall flat. You know what’s uncivil down there by Houston, is the price of a pastrami sandwich.

          So if you’re no hipster in those hoods, I’m hoping you’re an artist/writer, so you can sorta relate and not laugh too hard that a friend and I worked nights bouncing, and would do stuff that we thought was sophisticated during the day sometimes. One of those things was reading books and poetry in the lobby of the Chelsea(hotel), but only reading things that were written by authors while they were guests there. The staff treated us like models, as if they assumed corporate had paid us to camp in the lobby and subtly advertise the grandiose history of the place(luckily we didn’t run with it and start reenacting famous moments from its heyday, like the Sid Vicious thing). We liked this game, but ran out of material, so I read 2001: A Space Odyssey three times before deciding on a new pastime, which if I remember correctly was planning to try to roll swimming the circle line route around the island into an interview on the Today Show. The sketch for that plan stayed written in pee in the snow on the roof of our building, never to be executed, never to be forgotten. God bless that strange, wonderful city.

  9. tall n wet says:

    Do I smell a conspiracy? Lol

    • bobo gigi says:

      People who want to see a conspiracy for everything will ever see a conspiracy for everything.
      I’m helping you to tell what you think.
      You think perhaps that Russia will accuse USA of killing its best world and olympic medal hopes. Women’s Russian breaststroke disappears and then the Russian women’s medley relay which was the biggest threat to the US team in the next years.

  10. bobo gigi says:

    We must be harder with the cheaters.
    I’m for a 2-year suspension for basic substances.
    A 4-year suspension for big substances.
    And a life suspension in case of a second positive test.

    • Iwish says:

      Thank you Bobo.
      I agree.
      As a non-swimmer, dad of two young swimmers, I have fallen in love with this beautiful sport.
      I can hardly stomach watching the sports of my youth, the “big three”, because of the rampant PED issue. The fall of Lance so saddens me.
      We have a chance to keep swimming clean with lifetime bans for offenders.
      I don’t want to believe the only chance my kids have to compete is through a better drug regimen.
      Where are swimming’s leaders on this subject?
      I hear crickets chirping…

  11. Jskals says:

    Am I the only one who thinks they should ban cheating athletes forever? Just get rid of them forever….

  12. SM says:

    Really sad to hear this Yulia was one of my favs with her earrings and bright suits but drugs cheaters should be exposed and shamed. 2 years ? nope should be banned for life make the mistake pay the price. Although this has just added to the pile of Russian cases im not going to cast an eye of doubt on the rest of the team hopefully the likes of Vlad , Daniel , Chimrova etc stay clean such a talented bunch of swimmers the Russians.

  13. Sophie says:

    They should make a separate sport for swimmers who cheat lol

  14. Peterdavis says:

    I think you’re tongue-in-cheek, but that would be a legitimate, albeit probably not wise, idea. There are plenty of otherwise legal banned substances that are purely beneficial to one’s health and, yes, performance, that we don’t allow our elite athletes to partake in.

    ‘It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.’ Socrates

    We could make a separate division where any and all legal, non-dangerous substances are allowed. Practices could be held in bathtubs, not pools, and training would look similar to cooking meth. We shall call it, the Archimedes division…’Eureka, I’ve discovered the perfect formula for swimming fast!’

    • Iwish says:

      Unfortunately, this puts you in the same position of having to prove that the competitors in the “clean” pool are actually clean!
      The only solution is to insist on permanent bans.
      You have to make the penalty so severe that it removes the incentive.

  15. I must admit that I have had my doubts about her and some of the Russian swimmers over the past year (I have my doubts over some American swimmers too but that is another discussion). However, I put aside my doubt and cheered on Efimova when I watched her race online in 2013…….now I just feel cheated and duped.

    I await to see what else comes out of this story and who is the next swimming cheat to be found out. Who knows who or where they will be from?

  16. Sean says:

    Everyone is talking about how bad this athlete is, but the drug she tested positive for (DHEA) is not an anabolic steroid. It is a supplement. You can walk down to your Vitamin Shoppe and pick it up, no prescription, no underground blackmarket, no syringes. It is generally banned by most doping agencies, but that doesn’t make it a steroid.

    • aswimfan says:

      So which one is worse, taking DHEA, or Clenbuterol like Hardy did (who only served one year of suspension and kept training throughout the period while Katrin Krabbe served 3 years suspension), or the masking agent Adderall like Ous Mellouli, or stimulant Levmetamfetamine like Mads Glaesner did.

    • DanishSwimFan says:

      Sean, DHEA is a steroid because of its chemical composition, that is not a matter of opinion but basic organic chemistry. Whether it’s illegal or not is irrelevant – many substances considered as performance enhancing are perfectly legal, but elite athletes sign up to a code which forbids them from using them. You couldn’t ever base doping legislation on what is legal or illegal since it varies so much by country anyway.

  17. Jiggsar says:

    Yulia could join my team any day.

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