2017 World Champion Madisyn Cox Given 2-Year Doping Suspension

United States National Team swimmer Madisyn Cox has been given a 2-year doping suspension after Trimetazidine appeared in an out-of-competition doping test. The test was conducted on February 5th, 2018. Her period of sanction begins on March 3rd, 2018, the date of her last race, and ends on March 2nd, 2020.

Trimetazidine is classed by the World Anti-Doping Association as a Class S4.5.3 substance – Hormones and Metabolites. The substance can be used medically to treat tinnitus and dizziness in some countries, though it has fallen out-of-favor in those cases, and angina (chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart). The latter is the reason that China’s Olympic champion and World Record holder Sun Yang claimed to have been taking it when he was suspended in 2014The substance has been a subject of fluctuating status within the World Anti-Doping Code over the last 5 years.

In a statement released to SwimSwam on Friday morning, Cox says that the positive test was for an “unfathomably low” amount, and that she had “never heard of this substance prior to receiving the test results.” A FINA anti-doping panel found that Cox is “an honest, very hardworking and highly credible athlete who is not a ‘cheat,’ and also said that they believed her testimony to be true. That allowed them to reduce the sanction from 4 years to 2 years.

The panel also found, however, that she was not eligible for a further reduction based on a “no fault” finding because she could not prove a “likely source” of the substance.

Cox says that she believes that she ingested trace amounts of the substance through drinking tap water in Austin, Texas, saying that “the presence of pharmaceuticals like Trimetazidine in U.S. drinking water is well documented,” but that the levels in Austin had not been sufficiently studied. While a study on the tap water in her apartment came back clean, FINA says, that is not conclusive enough to prove or disprove contamination. Cox does say that she is looking into whether it’s possible to have those tests done, and whether to appeal her case to the CAS. FINA also noted that because Trimetazidine is not FDA approved in the United States, it ‘may not be as widely used’ as other drugs, indicating skepticism about whether it would be found in municipal water supplies – which has been a well-documented finding over the last decade.

“I have not taken and will never take short cuts to be the very best,” Cox said. “I have been training this entire past year to compete at U.S. Nationals with the goal of representing my family, team and the United States at the Pan Pacific Championships and the 2019 FINA World Championships.”

Cox, who swam collegiately at the University of Texas, is a member of the 2017-2018 U.S. National Team as a result of performances in the 200 and 400 IM. At the 2017 World Championships, she won gold as part of the American 800 free relay and bronze individually in the 200 IM.

Cox had been ominously absent from meets since the Pro Swim Series in Atlanta in early March, in spite of being entered in several meets and not racing. Cox is entered in 5 events for US Nationals, including as the #2 seed in the 200 IM, but barring an unprecedentedly-fast appeal to the CAS, won’t be eligible to race.

Her results from that Pro Swim Series stop in Atlanta are forfeited, including the prize money she took via two wins and a third-place finish, adding up to $2,200.

Cox is the 2nd member of the U.S. National Team to be sanctioned this season for doping, along with Amanda Kendall. A member of the U.S. Junior National Team, Matthew Willenbring, has also been sanctioned. The relevant anti-doping authorities (USADA and FINA) have declared the ingestion to  be mitigated to reduced sentences from the maximum 4 years in all 3 cases.

Cox’s Full Statement:

FINA made public earlier today that I’ve been sanctioned for two years because I unintentionally ingested a prohibited substance, Trimetazidine, an unfathomably low amount of which was detected in an out-of-competition urine sample provided on February 5, 2018. I had never heard of this substance prior to receiving the test results.

The FINA Hearing Panel reviewed all of the evidence, including lab reports demonstrating very low parts per billion concentrations of the prohibited substance in my sample. A world -renowned biochemist who reviewed my case compared the extraordinarily low level detected equal to “a pinch of salt in an Olympic size swimming pool.” At such a trace level, the substance provided me with no performance benefit of any kind.

The FINA Hearing Panel considered (1) the low level in my urine, (2) that no Trimetazidine was detected in my hair sample, and (3) my in-person testimony. The Panel found that I was “an honest, very hardworking and highly credible athlete who is not a ‘cheat.’” They believed my testimony, stating that my case was “highly credible.” As a result, the Panel reduced the sanction from a potential four year period to two years – which has happened only one other time in history.

Unfortunately the Panel determined that I was not eligible for a finding of “No Fault” because I could not prove the “likely source” of the 0.1 ng/ml of Trimetazidine in my urine. While the scientific expert who reviewed my case believes that I unknowingly ingested the Trimetazidine through tap water consumed the night before the test, the Panel determined that more scientific evidence was needed to prove this. The presence of pharmaceuticals like Trimetazidine in U.S. drinking water is well documented, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has studied the levels of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water of certain cities across the United States. Also unfortunately for me, there haven’t been any studies like this done in Austin, Texas, where I live and train.

The Panel noted that “contaminated water” was certainly a possible source of the banned substance, but it could not find that it was the “likely source” without more testing data on the presence of pharmaceuticals in the Austin, Texas water supply. I currently am looking into whether such testing is possible. I also am considering whether to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Since my test result, I have learned the hard way about the harshness of the anti-doping rules. Because a microscopic amount of a prohibited substance was detected in my urine, I am sanctioned for two years despite the FINA Hearing Panel finding that my ingestion was unintentional and that I am not a “cheat”.

I am devastated. I honestly believed through this entire process that I would receive a No Fault ruling, due to the strength of my case, a completely clean hair sample, dozens and dozens of clean tests and a history of carrying myself with honor and integrity throughout my academic and swimming career. I stand on my personal and competitive reputation.

I have not taken and will never take short cuts to be the very best. I have been training this entire past year to compete at U.S. Nationals with the goal of representing my family, team and the United States at the Pan Pacific Championships and the 2019 FINA World Championships.

As I endure these next weeks and months, I would anticipate and appreciate your understanding, and hope you respect that this statement is complete and stands as my only public comments at this time.

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applesorangesandbananas
3 years ago

This is rough and might be a career ender. Tap water? Tap water?

swimcoach
Reply to  applesorangesandbananas
3 years ago

for real. tap wattttttttttttter?

Horninco
Reply to  applesorangesandbananas
3 years ago

Shouldn’t end her career unless she dexises she’s done. Can still train and compete in 2020 Trials

Jump
Reply to  Horninco
3 years ago

What does “dexises” mean?

orangehoosier
Reply to  Jump
3 years ago

decides, without autocorrect? Just a guess, from context.

Baker-King-Worrell-Manuel
Reply to  applesorangesandbananas
3 years ago

Try bottled water next time.

Greg S
Reply to  applesorangesandbananas
3 years ago

Yes. Tap water. “In an investigation by the Associated Press, drinking water supplies in 24 major metropolitan areas were found to include drugs.”

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/drugs-in-our-drinking-water

Lil
3 years ago

Nooooo did she just say to water 😂😂😂

Jem
Reply to  Lil
3 years ago

Gotta say I quite enjoyed the tap water explanation. Almost as entertaining as Tyler Hamilton’s vanishing twin! Or Dennis Mitchell’s “I banged my wife half a dozen times last night” story 👍

Madscientist
Reply to  Lil
3 years ago

probably Lawyer told her to say that…

Rumbuns
3 years ago

wow

NothingsFair
3 years ago

This has me rattled

swimcoach
Reply to  NothingsFair
3 years ago

fairly shook as well.

Oof
3 years ago

2 positive tests for UT swimmers this year. Ouch.

ClevermcPseudonym
Reply to  Oof
3 years ago

Who was the second?

Horninco
Reply to  Oof
3 years ago

MW wasn’t swimming for UT when he tested. He had just finished his third year of HS

Oof
Reply to  Horninco
3 years ago

Still does not look good for the program. Gotta stay clean.

ClevermcPseudonym
Reply to  Oof
3 years ago

A former member of the women’s team and a high school kid have failed drug tests?

Let’s strip the Men’s team of an NCAA title.

Dudeman
Reply to  ClevermcPseudonym
3 years ago

I was thinking this same thing,he hadn’t tested positive when he committed and was a year out from being in the program when his failed test came out, how does that reflect badly on the UT program at all? Even with cox it comes down to the individual since everyone else on the team hasn’t had an issue

Taa
Reply to  Dudeman
3 years ago

It’s guilt by association. USC and Salo have the same problem. Wasn’t there a video on here with Cox training with the men? Hmmmmm I bet they wish she wasn’t at that practice.

Dudeman
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

he hasn’t even trained with the team, there’s no association between him and the texas men’s team other than he has committed to swim there. Also USC had men and women test positive under Salo so it’s not a fair comparison

CraigH
Reply to  Dudeman
3 years ago

It reflect badly because they maintained their recruitment of a committed doper.

Sccoach
Reply to  CraigH
3 years ago

Committed doper? Troll harder

CraigH
Reply to  CraigH
3 years ago

You might call it trolling, but I am a firm believer in the “you are responsible for whatever you put in your body,” doping philosophy. You might hem and haw, but at least I can stay consistent.

Dudeman
Reply to  CraigH
3 years ago

Coaches can revoke scholarships if they see a reason to, clearly Eddie Reese, along with many others, trust MW and believe it was an honest mistake. I don’t think the program that just won its 4th straight NCAA championship will suffer due to this choice

Horninco
Reply to  Oof
3 years ago

That’s quite a reach

Lswimmer
Reply to  Oof
3 years ago

Uhm, Texas has one of the best reputations in history. MW was not on Texas when he was tested and Madisyn is one of the most credible swimmers in the world. This is all just BS

santos
Reply to  Lswimmer
3 years ago

yet if the kid is russian or chinese putting up top times, they get crucified without a positive test. get outta here

SuperSwimmer 2000
Reply to  santos
3 years ago

Nah, if they were Russian or Chinese and putting up good times, they’d still be allowed to compete, a la Sun Yang, who tested positive for the same substance in 2014. I don’t recall him missing and big international competitions for two years.

Boomcobson
Reply to  Oof
3 years ago

Neither are a current UT swimming get your facts right

TAK
Reply to  Boomcobson
3 years ago

Facts do not matter in today’s society – it is all about fueling outrage to sell an agenda.

Zoey
3 years ago

Instead of having numerous drug tests given to athletes why not enhance and bring out information of certain drugs that may be present in unknowingly substances?? Then such punishments/penalties may be given. Im with Madisyn on this one

Madscientist
Reply to  Zoey
3 years ago

Are there any serious scientists/physicians (I am both) at FINA or WADA? Firstly, stop banning molecules that work via placebo effects! Secondly, stop promulgating homeopathy as science (show me evidence that 1 ppm of drug X has any physiologic effects: beneficial or harmful). Thirdly, learn and apply probabilities and errors in your methodologies, please (Bayesian). Finally, STOP scaring the kids with bad science!

Scott Stubblefield
Reply to  Madscientist
3 years ago

Amen!

Taa
Reply to  Zoey
3 years ago

So you are a doper?

zoey
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

nah! sorry if you’re one seems to trigger you.

Superfan
Reply to  Zoey
3 years ago

I am just curious why the other Longhorn guys or girls who get drug tested didn’t test positive?!? Sorry I have a tough time understanding that excuse.

meeeeee
Reply to  Superfan
3 years ago

Yes, agree. They are drinking the same tap water, right? Unless Madisyn is the only one not drinking bottled water.

Swimcanada
Reply to  meeeeee
3 years ago

Everyone’s tap water is different

Fly100
Reply to  meeeeee
3 years ago

And Lance

Swimcanada
Reply to  Superfan
3 years ago

That’s the scary thing about pharmaceuticals in water. It’s a pinpoint in time as water flows through the system. Since treatment plants can’t filter out pharmaceuticals there is no telling what could be in the water at any given time. What’s in the water at this time won’t be there the next time. Maybe they didn’t drink as much or they metabolize it faster or their water came through a different plant.

Swimma
3 years ago

I believe her

Taa
3 years ago

Who still drinks tap water? Everyone who does please raise your hand.

Goldmedalgal
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

Austin, tx is not Brazil. I bet every single person getting drug tested on Texas drinks the tap water

Taa
Reply to  Goldmedalgal
3 years ago

Makes her look even more guilty then since she is the only one to test positive. Matt W. better not drink any or he is risking his swim career with a second violation. He should transfer to CAL ASAP as drinking tap water in this state is illegal and they take your children away from you if you get caught letting them drink it.

samuel huntington
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

lol what stop making up laws

Madscientist
Reply to  Goldmedalgal
3 years ago

Lol, you’ve never been to Austin? Definitely do NOT drink the water. And don’t insult Brazil (a country) by comparing it to Austin!

Rafael
Reply to  Madscientist
3 years ago

In many places of Brazil is pretty safe to drink Tap Water.. and probably the quality of Water where I Live might be much better than Austin, Tx.

Also thinking only you has potable tap water is laughable… Imagine if some people know it is safe to drink on Public Fountain or Public Water on the streets of Rome…

Cate
Reply to  Madscientist
3 years ago

There’s nothing wrong with the tap water in Austin.

Baker-King-Worrell-Manuel
Reply to  Goldmedalgal
3 years ago

Mexico is closer to Austin, TX than Brazil.

Years of Plain Suck
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Do WADA and FINA test SwimSwam editors? If so, you better watch out. By the way, what’re doing in Montreal?

Years of Plain Suck
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Braden: are you 7’ 2”? You look like a giant in your road trip photo.

Years of Plain Suck
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

I wish you a long and happy life together. May your union be blessed with many children and much happiness!

JP input is too short
Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
3 years ago

Heh, that reminds me of my wedding – my wife is Greek Orthodox and the overarching theme of the ceremony seemed to be “have a whole bunch of children and make sure they have a whole bunch of children too.”

carlo
Reply to  JP input is too short
3 years ago

We got to put our reproductive skills to use.

Patrick
Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
3 years ago

Even this post can’t avoid the downvotes.

Catherine
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

sounds like a fantastic road trip. My husband and I plan to do something like this in a couple of years when we retire. My question: Are you finding masters swim teams to train with along the way?

JP input is too short
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

I never got to be the lucky “random sample” at NCAAs (and I never won an event so wasn’t automatically tested)… I’ve had drug tests for jobs and pretty extensive bloodwork for a medical condition but never a PED test. I’d be interested to see what mine looks like too.

Yozhik
Reply to  JP input is too short
3 years ago

Sounds like a lovely talk of two cheaters who have never got caught.
😀

itsnotbreaststrokeanymore
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

I wouldn’t want to see what I’d test positive for. I’d like to see what I can get away with in the hopes of showing the doping police how far behind they are.

I’d like to do an open doping program with FINA, WADA, and the US doping authorities conducting it to show everyone how easy it is to get away with and how effective it is. I’m in my mid-40’s. I’d go to every swim meet with “Cheater” written on my back in 2 inch thick 6 inch tall black marker to make sure everyone knows I’m not trying to get away with anything.

I’d be willing to go full Barry Bonds/Lance Armstrong.

Make it happen, Braden.… Read more »

4IM
Reply to  itsnotbreaststrokeanymore
3 years ago

If you haven’t already, you should watch ‘Icarus’ on Netflix. It’s a documentary about an amateur cyclist who dopes with the purpose of seeing what he can get away with and how it affects him. He ends up helping expose the Russian doping. Definitely worth a watch!

SumTing Wong
Reply to  4IM
3 years ago

His name is Krystofer Fromevitch & he wangled his way back to the Tour of France tho the spectators are not believing his whizzing up mountains is asthma .Whizzing not wheezing .

John Bradley
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Do you want Icarus? Because that’s how you get Icarus.

Bottled water
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

I’m here for you

Superfan
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

I always drink tap water wherever I am at…home or around the world…the one exception is Mexico

Cate
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Not a good idea in Russia either

Bottled water
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

Yes this is the true offense here as far as I’m concerned

Taa
Reply to  Bottled water
3 years ago

I love you bottled water but you are responsible for tons and tons of plastic pollution. You and your friend the plastic grocery bag will burn in hell.

Madscientist
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

U don’t want to know what all is in “bottled water”! Recall a story about some company bottling tap water to resell. And what about bottled water from “the Source”? Scary!

Bottled water
Reply to  Madscientist
3 years ago

Whoa whoa whoa you’re getting the truth straight from the source here buddy. I keep it clean. Just stay away from those nasty gas station brands. They’ll get you every time

Bottled water
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

Man if y’all would just keep me around and reuse me for once then we wouldn’t have that problem. Show me some love and quit throwing me away. Been in all these garbage bags and you people still won’t take me out. (See what I did there).

Baker-King-Worrell-Manuel
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

Recycle

SumTing Wong
Reply to  Baker-King-Worrell-Manuel
3 years ago

China is no longer accepting the world’s plastic for recycling .US threatened then UK begged
n begged but nope .. it’s all ours now .

Anonymous
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

raised hand

Cate
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

I drink tap water all the time. Buying bottled water is a waste of money and not necessary unless you live in Flint.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »