Dave Salo Makes Statement on Efimova Doping Case

USC and Trojan Swim Club coach Dave Salo had some words of support after Russian breaststroker Yulia Efimova tested positive for meldonium and could now face a lifetime ban as a result of her test failure. Efimova, one of the world’s top breaststrokers, trains with Salo at USC.

NBC Sports reports that Salo has told the media about Efimova’s desire to try to fight the impending consequences. As for himself, the USC coach claims that he has never encouraged or even suggested the use of performance-enhancing drugs for any of his swimmers.

According to Salo, once the 23-year-old Efimova learned about meldonium’s new status as a banned substance back in December, she stopped taking it.

“Yulia stopped taking it [meldonium] in December when it became evident it was going to be on the banned list,” said Salo. “She sent me a text almost immediately yesterday and tried to assure me that she hadn’t done anything since December.”

Meldonium was named a prohibited substance on WADA’s list last year, but the ban officially went into effect on January 1, 2016.

Salo also says that he has never given his swimmers any sort of performance-enhancing drugs.

“It’s not coming from me, it never has come from me,” Salo said. “I don’t think kids need supplementation of any sort. I’ve never counseled kids to take anything. They know my stance on it.”

This isn’t the first time Efimova has seen trouble with doping– in 2013, she tested positive for the steroid DHEA and as a result was stripped of 2 world records and 5 international medals from earlier competition. According to NBC Sports, Salo plans to meet with Efimova upon his return to USC after the NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Champs in Atlanta.

“Her text was, ‘Please believe me. I didn’t do this on purpose,’” he said. “I believe her. She’s culpable to the extent that she has a lot of other people in her ear.”

Efimova, who trains in Southern California with Salo, has put down the fastest 100 meter breast time this season. She now faces a penalty that could be as severe as a lifetime ban from the sport.

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The Grand Inquisitor

Sometimes it only makes the situation appear worse when people provide additional explanation.
This is one of those times.


what if she hadn’t been taking it like she said? what if her dad (who is with her) has been sneaking it into her food or drinks? just a thought. far out situation but still a possibility


I’m not buying it. I looked it up and it appears that Meldonium has a half life of only about 5 or 6 hours. What was the date that she gave the failed sample on?

Sean Justice

It would have to be after January 1, 2016. So of she stopped using it in December and the half life is what you state as 6 hours….then the math does not really add up.


Therapeutic half life and drug clearance are two completely different things. It is quite possible that an athlete could have taken a dose on December 30 and failed a test several weeks later. There are simply too many details that we do not know, specifically when the test was administered. While I do not support PEDs, I also won’t get behind damning an individual without all the facts. She may be telling the truth. We will find out if she is not.

ur wrong

A lot of people thought that. Turns out it’s traceable in your body for up to 6 months.


But there is a threshold of 1mg so you can have .99mg in your system and pass the test. It would take no more than 3 days to be under that and certainly not 2 weeks. There is just no way. The ban was announced in September 2015 that it would no longer be allowed on Jan 1.


Arena Pro which was mid january? So she is lying to her coach. I wonder what he thinks about sticking up for a chronic liar.

We can see her defense is going to be that she stopped taking it in December and it still showed up on her drug test in mid january.

The half life seems to make this impossible. 48 hours you would have 1/256 of the original dose in you?


What if I was the pope and you were a king? You’re describing a fantasy world my friend!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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