Grace Ariola Tested Positive, But Found Without Fault By USADA

Texas freshman Grace Ariola has tested positive for a prohibited substance, per a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announcement.

During an out-of-competition test, 18-year-old Ariola tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide via urine sample she provided on June 19th of this year. Hydrochlorothiazide is banned due to its masking properties.

In its investigation, however, the USADA has deemed Ariola as without fault or negligence and the swimmer will not face a period of ineligibility as a result of her positive test. Ariola provided the USADA with records for a permitted oral prescription medication she was taking at the time of her positive test and, although the medication did not list hydrochlorothiazide on its list of ingredients, a detailed laboratory analysis confirmed trace contamination.

Travis T. Tygart, CEO of the USADA, said, “While the rules require this to be publicly announced, we strongly believe this case, and others like it, should be considered no violation. We will continue to advocate in the WADA Code review process that where no fault or negligence has occurred, an athlete should not face any violation or unnecessary public attention.”

Ariola’s case is the 2nd recent situation involving a Texas swimmer in 2018, with Madiysn Cox also having been falling victim to a hidden, unknown ingredient. In Cox’s case, her original 2-year suspension for testing positive for Trimetazidine was dropped down to 6 months after a WADA-accredited lab in Salt Lake City determined that 4 nanograms of the banned substance were present in both the opened and sealed bottles of Cooper Complete Elite Athletic multivitamin that Cox says she had been taking for seven years.

Since original publishing, Grace Ariola has contacted SwimSwam with her official statement, seen below:

Today it was announced that USADA issued a finding of “No Fault” in regards to an out of competition drug test that I provided on June 19, which tested positive for hydrocholorthiazide, a banned substance that is also a common blood pressure medication.
On Friday July 13th, I received an email from USADA notifying me that I had tested positive for the substance, which I had never heard of before. The email also informed me that I could get banned from the sport I love for two years. From that day forward, I began the terrifying process of finding a lawyer and fighting a positive drug test, just two weeks before the start of U.S. Nationals. I learned that the substance was banned because it is a diuretic and is considered a masking agent, but I had no idea where the positive test could have come from. I was using an inhaler for asthma, and was taking a generic antibiotic that had been prescribed for acne. I had used both medications while previously drug tested without issue, so I did not think they were the source. However, we sent my antibiotics to an independent lab for testing, and the lab confirmed that my medication, manufactured in a lab in India, was in fact contaminated with hydrochlorothiazide. This was later confirmed by USADA through their own testing as well.
To say it was a difficult summer is an understatement. The relief I felt on Tuesday receiving the official news of a “no fault” finding was unlike anything I’ve felt, as this experience has been one of the most challenging of my career thus far. I am excited to be able to move on from this and start a new chapter of my life at the University of Texas, and I am extremely grateful for the incredible support of my family, coaches and friends during this ordeal.

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Penninsula Swimmer
4 years ago

I am totally new to this thing…if anyone explain…it really helps for younger swimmers. There were multiple swimmers who were suspended. I remember one was Amanda Kendal(?) who tested negative, but suspended because she did not file TUE. This case the swimmer tested positive – did she have TUE ? Tested positive after her competitions ( not during the competition)?

Just trying to figure out the difference. Sorry for my ignirance as I said I have young swimmers.

Admin
Reply to  Penninsula Swimmer
4 years ago

Penninsula Swimmer – she didn’t test positive for the substances that were supposed to be in the prescription, according to WADA she tested positive for something that WASN’T supposed to be in the prescription. So, whereas Madisyn Cox is blaming a tainted supplement, this is a case of a tainted prescription medicine.

Penninsula Swimmer
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

I see. So you are ok if it is something out of your control?

Admin
Reply to  Penninsula Swimmer
4 years ago

Yes-and-no. The rules dictate more-or-less that everything that goes in an athlete’s body is their responsibility. Convincing the committee that you accidentally ingested it gets you knocked from 4 years to 2 years right off the bat. From there, it’s up to a committee’s opinion, more-or-less, and precedent doesn’t seem to influence decisions too much, about if you were careful enough. They look at things like if you independently test your supplements and medicines before taking them, if you should have been confident about it (aka, was it an off-brand supplement, versus was it a prescription from a pharmacy), did you have a TUE that you forgot to renew, did you generally practice safe habits when it comes to medicines… Read more »

Still a swim dad
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Braden, thanks for your good coverage of this. Grace is a fantastic swimmer & even a more fantastic young lady. Her statement explains exactly what I expected when I heard about the positive test. I’ve worried about the manufacturing standards of generic drugs for many years now. There are a LOT of the generic drugs manufactured in India nowadays. From my experience as a pharmacist. This includes most of the commonly prescribed antibiotics, blood pressure, heart, antidepressants…. many, many items… a lot. Some of us in the profession have been concerned about this for years…… it’s just going to become more common as suppliers try to find the least expensive medications as insurance companies squeeze the pennies out of each… Read more »

Admin
Reply to  Still a swim dad
3 years ago

Yes, it’s become very ugly and very complicated.

I’ve accepted two statements as facts:

1) A lot of swimmers who test positive aren’t intentionally doping
2) A lot of swimmers who don’t test positive are doping

The hard part is…what do we do about it? I don’t know what to do about it.

Gramps
4 years ago

But when Russia does it, they are cheaters!!!!

Kiblers
4 years ago

Grace. You’re a Rockstar. We are so sorry you had to go through this. Can’t wait to watch you in future! Hook em horns!

tea rex
4 years ago

There but for the Grace of God go I?

Bob
4 years ago

I ask this in all ignorance of this subject but, how is this different from other positive tests? How did Lance Armstrong get away with years of drug use and not get caught? Are Americans better at covering or ‘masking’ their drug use than athletes in other countries? And I don’t understand why the Russian’s got a pass from WADA? As an avid follower of swimming, when I see world records or even junior records, I ask myself if drugs were involved, particularly if certain countries are involved. Can anyone help me on these questions?

Admin
Reply to  Bob
4 years ago

Bob – what this case basically comes down to is that she had a tainted prescription medicine. It’s one thing to have a tainted supplement – you have to make sure you’re looking at trustworthy suppliers. But, when you’re getting prescriptions and getting your medicines from a standard medical pharmacy (not a compounding pharmacy, ala Cielo), that would be terrifying to me if I were in the testing pool.

micah
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

So bottom line, it is probably wise to keep one pill from each bottle for future re-testing if needed.

Admin
Reply to  micah
4 years ago

I hadn’t thought of that – but yes, that would be a really smart thing to do.

Superfan
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

So they don’t test swimming journalists? I always thought that is how you put out so many articles! 🤔

Togger
Reply to  Bob
4 years ago

In the case of Armstrong I think there were 2 reasons:

1) The dude was really good at doping, he knew exactly how to play the system.

2) The UCI had little interest in catching him, it would blow the lid on the fact everyone was doing it and make their main event, the Tour, less spectacular (which it is now, turns out to ride 8 mountain passes in a day makes great racing, but is superhuman).

Swimcanada
4 years ago

Unfortunantely with the WADA accredited labs abilities to now test at such micro traces these cases of contamination are going to become more and more prevalent and innocent athletes will be caught in the crossfire.

micah
Reply to  Swimcanada
4 years ago

Never mind, I re-read the article and missed that the trace was found in the prescription she was taking.

DMacNCheez
Reply to  micah
4 years ago

ooooo two user names in one thread, Braden’s gonna get ya!!

micah
Reply to  DMacNCheez
4 years ago

No.

Hswimmer
4 years ago

Who’s next

wonkabar23
4 years ago

in before the water jokes

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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