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.