Mackenzie Headley, a 16-year-old Jamaican swimmer, has received a public reprimand from an Independent Anti-Doping Panel (IADP) following two positive tests for banned substances last year.
Headley, who has predominantly trained and competed in the United States since 2016, submitted a positive sample in April 2022 at the CARIFTA Championships in Barbados, and she tested positive a second time from a sample collected in late June at the 2022 Caribbean Games in Guadeloupe.
Due to being a “protected person” under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, Headley won’t serve a period of ineligibility.
Her results from both the CARIFTA Championships and Caribbean Games have been disqualified. At the CARIFTA Championships she notably had four individual podium finishes, including winning the women’s 50 butterfly (27.79).
The panel said in a release that there was no significant negligence on the part of the athlete.
“The respondent was a minor at the time of in-competition testing on the 17th April 2022, during the 2022 Carifta Swimming and Open Water Championships held in Barbados. The athlete was subjected to an in-competition doping control test,” the IADP said, according to the Jamaica Observer.
“Analysis of her sample returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for the prohibited substances GW0742 – metabolites (sulfoxide and sulfone), GW501516 – metabolites sulfoxide and sulfone, and SARM LGD (ligandrol) – 4033 metabolite, which are prohibited by WADA at all times.”
The IADP said that Headley waived the testing of her ‘B’ sample and accepted the results, and on October 14, 2022, she was officially notified that she was provisionally suspended.
For her second positive test at the Caribbean Games, Headley returned an AAF for the substances GW1516 – metabolite (sulfone) non-specified, and GW1516 – metabolite (sulfoxide) non-specified.
- GW1516 and GW501516, commonly known as Cardarine, are metabolic modulators and can be beneficial to athletic performance, with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) reporting that there were 31 positive tests for the substance in 2017 alone.
- Cardarine is a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor beta (PPAR) agonist which causes a shift in how energy is put out. According to Healthline, “the top purported benefits include weight loss, benefits for diabetes and obesity, improved blood lipids, and enhanced sport performance, though human research in these areas is lacking.”
- GW501516 is the same substance South African Olympic champion Roland Schoeman tested positive for in 2019. Several other high-profile athletes have tested positive for it, including heavyweight boxer Jarrell Miller and 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the 800 meters on the track, Nijel Amos.
- Ligandrol is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) and “is used to increase energy, improve athletic performance, increase muscle growth, and for other uses, but there is no good scientific evidence to support its use,” according to WebMD.
- Ligandrol is the same substance Shayna Jack tested positive for in 2019.
Headley currently attends Suffield Academy in Connecticut and trains and competes with the Farmington Valley YMCA Tsunami club team in Granby, CT.
A sprint freestyle and breaststroke specialist, Headley was ranked 20th in our Way Too Early Rankings in the girls’ high school class of 2024 last year, and in June, she was featured in the “Best of the Rest” section in the next edition of the rankings.
According to her Instagram bio, she has committed to UNC for the fall of 2024.
Headley most recently competed at the YMCA Long Course National Championships in Greensboro, where she placed fourth in the 100 breast in a new lifetime best of 1:13.88, and she also took fourth in the 50 fly (27.72), fifth in the 50 free (26.41), and eighth in both the 100 free (58.76) and 100 fly (1:03.97).
In short course yards, she owns personal bests of 22.52 in the 50 free, 49.13 in the 100 free and 1:00.87 in the 100 breast.