Canadian Swimmer Receives 11-Month Suspension For Substances Not on Label or WADA Prohibited List

Canadian Swimmer Dmitry Shulga has received an 11-month suspension after testing positive in-competition for the banned substances N-ethyl-1-phenyl-2-butanamine and 1-phenyl-2-butanamine, which are classified under the World Anti-Doping Code as stimulants.

The 24-year old Shulga tested positive earlier this year, and is generally at his best in short course meters, with times of 1:52.75 in the 200 free and 2:03.57 in the 200 IM. The Nova Scotia native is a former provincially A-carded swimmer, meaning that he finished in the A final at a major Canadian competition. This system has since been scrapped.

After having his appeal hearing delayed following the February test, his suspension was reduced to 11 months.

Among the factors contributing to the length of suspension was the fact that the ingredients that Shulga tested positive for were not listed on the label of a supplement he was taking (Shulga, because of pending litigation, would not name the product specifically), which is an increasingly common story in the world of swimming.

Shulga wanted to help other athletes avoid his pitfall, and said “supplements are such a risky avenue to explore. Even if you inquire with the manufacturer about the safety and banned substances and get an reassurances from them that is not enough. Even if the supplement has a “Manufactured in an NSF for Sport Certified Facility” that is not enough. Even if the ingredient list has no prohibited substances on it, that is not enough. You can never truly eliminate the risk. That double jeopardy can happen to anyone, and I was careful and diligent, yet it happened to me.”
This echoes the calls of the Brazilian Cesar Cielo after he tested positive for a banned substance, which came from caffiene pills that he specifically had tested and prepared specially by a lab for him, but still gave him, and three of his countrymates, a positive test.
Though we could not confirm if it was the substance, in the world of extreme nutrition, the supplement Craze has been roiled in controversy as has tested positive to contain just the same supplements that Shulga tested positive for. (See more here).

“I believe I was a victim of fraud on the part of the manufacturer,” Shulga told us today. “The manufacturer even claimed on the bottle that the supplement was produced in an NSF for Sport Certified Facility, and all of that turned out to be a fraud and NSF is now pursuing legal actions against the supplement manufacturer.”

But here’s the real kicker to this story: neither substance for which Shulga has been banned is specifically listed on the World Anti-Doping Association’s (WADA) list of banned substances. Shulga says that he found one other case where an athlete was banned for these substances, an Australian rugby player in June, 2012, and despite the January 1st, 2013 update to the WADA prohibited list, it was still not specifically named as a banned substance.

This means that WADA, while aware of the substance and considering it worthy of suspension, chose not to list it on the 2013 list, despite a positive test for it in 2012.

N-ethyl-1-phenyl-2-butanamine, according to a study done by the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is less potent as a vasoconstrictor (raising blood pressure) than epinephrine, a common stimulant, but is effective about twice as long in its blood pressure effect than are amphetamines. It is seen as a sort of surrogate for methamphetamines.


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Dan Collins
8 years ago

The FDA were swift but not too swift on the action.

This was the supplement in question and the FDA took notice. Further tests found this methamphetamine analogue in the supplement after Dmitry tested positive and was subsequently banned for 11 months. NSF (the name of the testing company that fraudulently used on the label of the supplement) also got involved issuing a warning to Driven Sports.

What a terrible case this is, the supplement industry is vile and it is the athletes who suffer. This is an extraordinary example of bad luck on the part of the athlete who will live with this for the rest of his life, it will haunt him forever.

9 years ago

All stimulants are banned. The list would be forever long, and people would claim this bullshite till the end of time. The list says ALL STIMULANTS. Get it cheats?

Kevin T.
9 years ago

Can you link or send me a copy of the West Virginia School of Medicine’s study? I would be very interested in reading it.

10 years ago

Itis an outrageous accident which happened to a talented and promising athlete. This should never happen in Canada. I wish \dimitrii success in his future career and not to give up!

10 years ago

If a substance isn’t on the “banned” list, why is there a suspension at all? Shouldn’t athletes be able to rely on the WADA list to know what is or isn’t prohibited? Scary stuff…

10 years ago

What are the rules regarding substances that WADA does not have on their list? Or do these substances fall into a category on their list?

I think it would be fair to the athlete community to release the name of the manufacturer. As long as the swimmer clearly states that it is his opinion, not a fact, that he was the victim of fraud, he cannot be sued for libel. And although the guy probably feels robbed, I hope he doesn’t want others to be subjected to the same.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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, …

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