Tarasevich Joins NY Breakers, But Adds To Gray Area On ISL ‘Zero Tolerance’

On the heels of British IM specialist Abbie Wood joining the New York Breakers International Swimming League (ISL) squad, the US-based team has announced another addition to its lineup. Former University of Louisville Cardinal Grigory Tarasevich of Russia has been revealed as the newest member of the roster, one that includes a trio of DeLoof sisters in Ali, Catie, and Gabbie, Olympic gold meadlist Pernille Blumeb, and part-owner Michael Andrew.

Tarasevich is coming off of a successful Summer Universiade (World University Games) where the 24-year-old collected backstroke medals across the 50m (bronze), 200m (silver) and 100m (gold) in Naples, Italy. Prior to that, he won mixed medley relay silver at the 2018 European Championships.

An Olympian, Tarasevich competed in Rio where he placed 9th in the 100m backstroke. With the rise of Kliment Kolesnikov, who is currently battling injuries, as well as Evgeny Rylove, Tarasevich this summer was the odd-man-out for Russia’s World Championship team.

There are few key points about Tarasevich’s addition to the NY Breakers squad. First, the Russian becomes the team’s fourth male backstroker. South African Chris Reid, American Jacob Pebley and Canadian Markus Thormeyer already focus on that discipline, so Tarasevich’s addition could perhaps be overkill in that area or may suggest one or more may not be on the traveling roster.

Additionally, Tarasevich becomes the 17th male member of the NY Breakers. The ISL urges squads to have 16 men and 16 women on their rosters, which they then narrow down to 14 of each gender for active meet rosters.

Of special significance to Tarasevich is the fact that he tested positive for banned substance Meldonium immediately before those 2016 Olympic Games.

As we reported in 2016, Tarasevich tested positive via an in-competition urine sample he provided on March 4th of 2016, as well as via an out-of-competition urine sample taken on March 29th. The former sample was collected at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Orlando, where Tarasevich claimed 2nd in the men’s 100m backstroke (53.84) and 3rd in the 200m backstroke (1:58.04). Those medals were forfeited, per the USADA.

The USADA learned in its investigation that a physician in Russia had given Tarasevich a meldonium prescription in June 2015, telling the athlete the drug was to be used during periods of ‘intensive training.’ Tarasevich told the USADA that he used the substance during three separate two-week training periods in 2015, but the last time he reportedly used meldonium was in early October 2015. That is the time frame in which Tarasevich, along with the rest of the sporting world, learned that meldonium would be added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of prohibited substances effective January 1, 2016.

Tarasevich, an Onsk, Russia native, reportedly had an ‘extremely low meldonium concentration’ in his urine samples, which the USADA says is consistent with ingestion prior to the January 1 prohibited substance listing date. That, paired with the fact that WADA has extended its no-fault grace period for testing positive for meldonium in concentrations of less than 1mcg to September 20th, Tarasevich did not face any bans or suspensions and was cleared to compete in Rio.

Despite the fact that Tarasevich did not face any bans, his case is one of a gray area within the ISL’s zero-tolerance policy. We specifically asked about Tarasevich at the time the ISL deemed American Will Licon eligible to compete, but did not receive a response.

As for Licon, a member of LA Current, the ISL stated at the time,no previously disqualified athlete for breaking anti-doping rules will be allowed to compete in any ISL competition. Thus, Licon has no problem to compete in ISL, since he has not been disqualified by the appropriate body.”

NY Breakers Roster as of October 1st

Michael Andrew Haley Black
Marcelo Chierighini Pernille Blume
Mack Darragh Ali DeLoof
Joao de Lucca Catie DeLoof
Jonathan Gomez Gabby DeLoof
Marco Koch Emily Escobedo
Marius Kusch Reva Foos
Clyde Lewis Breeja Larson
Justin Lynch Lia Neal
Jack McLoughlin Tayla Lovemore
Jacob Pebley Emily Overholt
Tomas Peribonio Alys Thomas
Chris Reid Madi Wilson
Pedro Spajari Abbie Wood
Brad Tandy
Grigory Tarasevich
Markus Thormeyer



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Uh ohh…. let me go pop my popcorn now….

Sun Yangs Hammer

This is why a “zero tolerance” policy was going to be messy. There are always circumstances that will fall into a grey area unless you want to ban everyone who has even been accused.


I get that they were going for athletes that they expected to improve but it’s still hard to see this team not being the worst one. Hopefully i’m wrong and it’s not a blowout

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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