Gabriel Santos Doping Hearing Date Set for July 19th

The FINA doping panel hearing for Brazilian sprinter Gabriel Santos will be held on July 19th at 2PM in Gwangju, South Korea. Santos was flagged in June for a positive test for the banned substance Clostebol. That hearing, which comes 2 days before the start of the pool swimming competition, will determine, among other things, whether or not Santos will be eligible to race at the World Championships.

Without Santos, then Andre Calvelo will likely take his spot on the finals men’s 400 free relay. Brazil were the silver medalists in that race in 2017, and Calvelo was .21 seconds slower (48.74 vs. 48.53) at the Maria Lenk Trophy.

Santos’ primary defense has been that the substance was present in a topical ointment used on a new tattoo, or that it absorbed after contact with his girlfriend, who also used the substance on a tattoo. Clostebol is, in fact, a common ingredient in topical medication used to treat inflammation and itching caused by a number of skin conditions, including tattoos.

Santos swam on Brazil’s 400 free relay at the 2016 Olympic Games, the 2017 World Championships, and the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. That includes winning gold at Pan Pacs and silver at the World Championships.

He also swam in the 100 free individually for Brazil at the World Championships in 2017, placing 14th.

He was selected as part of the 2019 Brazilian roster to compete at both the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru and the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The swimming portion of the World Championships begin on July 21st, and the swimming portion of the Pan American Games starts on August 6th.

Santos, who hails from São Paulo, was administered an out-of-competition doping test on May 20th in his home city, which came back testing positive for Clostebol. The substance is considered a weak anabolic androgenic steroid on its own, but was used as one ingredient of oral turinabol, a staple of the East German state-sponsored doping program back in the 1970s and 1980s. It’s the same substance that another Brazilian sprinter, Henrique Rodrigues, tested positive for in 2017.

Rodrigues was ultimately suspended for 1 year retroactive to the date of the test.

On the same day that the positive test was revealed, Santos was announced as a member of the DC Trident in the International Swimming League (ISL). Shortly thereafter, he was suspended by the league, pending the outcome of the hearing. For anything other than full dismissal, Santos would face a total ban from the ISL, which has enacted a zero-tolerance policy for doping violations. While the league has not publicly described the details of that policy, thus far they have applied it to even violations that were later ruled to be from tainted supplements or accidental ingestion.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

9 Comment threads
19 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
21 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

I like the ISL’s no tolerance policy but I am still curious how they will handle cases where people are proven “innocent”. Like Madisyn cox.

Ol' Longhorn

Let’s withhold judgment. Oh wait, it’s Brazil.




Brazil isn’t a race….they have many races in that country


Besides Gabriel Santos, Henrique Rodrigues, Henrique Barbosa Nicholas Santos, Vinicius Waked, Etiene Medeiros, Glauber Silva, Diego Prado, Cesar Cielo, and Leonardo Sumida are other Brazilian swimmers who tested positive for PEDS. Brazil, get your act together and stop cheating.You too Russia and China. Watch Icarus.


You know etiene was a case of tue right?


Your Brazil list goes back 8 years, to 2011 when Waked, Santos, Cielo, and Barbosa all tested positive after using the same supplement.

Here’s the US list that I could find for doping violations, dating back just 3 years:
Grace Ariola
Jack Casey
Ryan Lochte
Amanda Kendall
Matthew Willenbring
Mike Alexandrov
Sam Tierney

The excuse of Waked, Santos, Barbosa, and Cielo essentially mirrored that of Cox (and Hardy). Kendall’s excuse was the same as Medeiros’ (prescribed by a doctor, just an error in TUE paperwork).

Thanks for laying it out this way. It really highlights how dirty American swimming is.


Good point but I’m sure the Americans have a larger sample size of tested swimmers. So statistically the Americans should have more.


Gatorchomp’s list was only for the past 3 years, so I’m sure if you extended it back 8 years to match the initial list given by Scribble, it’d be much longer. I’ll let someone else do the number-crunching to figure out doping violations per 10,000 swimmers or whatever, but my hunch is that America is in no position to claim the moral high ground over Brazil.


Um, except America catches and hands out severe suspensions to dopers. Gatlin missed 4 years of his prime (track). Cox was proven innocent and still had to serve a suspension. Brazil back in 2011 just gave Cielo and Santos a slap on the wrist. America did have sketchy antidoping enforcement and the turn on the millennium, but we have moved on and the USOC is nowhere near as corrupt as it was then (which isn’t saying much lol). Also look at the profile of swimmers catch doping. Brazil had Cielo, probably there most prolific and famous swimmer ever, test positive in his prime. China had Sun, the face of Chinese swimming, at the center multiple suspicious incidents with doping. Russia… Read more »


Sure there are American cheats too, but some individuals make bad decisions vs a cultural acceptance of PED use. China, Russia, and Brazil have long histories of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Swimming. And no doubt American Track & Field and Tour de France bikers also have horrible histories, but only swimming concerns me. I suggest you watch the documentary Icarus or talk to trainers/athletes who use PEDS. It is incredibly disturbing how prevalent and accessible PEDS and blood doping is. Michael Phelps made a very disturbing comment how he doubted he ever swam an International Final with a level playing field. Add the complicity of the governing boards and testing agencies, you don’t have a good situation. If it wasn’t… Read more »

Coach Mike 1952

Ryan Lochte took intravenous vitamins that were not tainted, just too much volume, if I recall correctly. Not quite the same as hard stuff.


The beautiful American art of point fingers to our own sins… God bless

Ol' Longhorn

See above.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

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

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!