Evans’ suspension stems from a positive test for Clostebol, conducted out-of-competition on Dec. 3, 2021, shortly after she finished competing in the third season of the International Swimming League (ISL).
Evans’ suspension is retroactive to Feb. 14, 2022—the date she was notified of the positive test—and will be ineligible to compete through Feb. 14, 2024.
Clostebol is a banned substance considered to be a weak anabolic androgenic steroid on its own. However, it was used as one ingredient of oral turinabol, a staple of the East German state-sponsored doping program back in the 1970s and 1980s.
According to World Aquatics’ document outlining the suspension, Evans says she bought the cream “Trofodermin” to treat a cut on her finger in September 2021 while competing in the ISL in Naples, Italy.
With a language barrier intact, Evans said she expected to receive a “Neosporin-like cream” and applied it topically for three days to treat the injured figure and then from late October to the end of November to treat an abrasion on her knee incurred after returning to the United States.
Evans said she was unaware the cream contained the banned substance and didn’t knowingly take it to improve her performance.
In June 2022, the International Testing Agency (ITA) told Evans that it believed her actions warranted a four-year suspension, though it offered a three-year ban if she accepted within three weeks. Evans refused and requested a hearing with the FINA Doping Panel.
After much deliberation, the FINA Doping Panel ultimately ruled that Evans didn’t knowingly take a banned substance, but was “significantly negligent” in adhering to anti-doping protocols, resulting in the two-year sentence. This negligence included Evans failing to check for a “doping” warning that was on the box of the cream.
Evans competed in six events after initially purchasing the cream—five ISL matches and the 2021 Short Course World Championships—all of which will see her results be disqualified.
Clostebol was also the substance Brazilian swimmer Gabriel Santos tested positive for back in 2019, though his suspension was ultimately lifted after he appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
A number of other high-profile athletes have been suspended for Clostebol in the past, including San Diego Padres baseball player Fernando Tatis Jr. last year.
Evans, 25, represented the Bahamas at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, placing as high as 13th in the women’s 400 free, and then served as one of the country’s flagbearers five years later in Tokyo, matching her finish in the 400 free while also placing 18th in the 200 free.
Evans competed for the University of Texas from 2015 to 2019, finishing her career as a three-time All-American and 11-time Big 12 champion. Her best individual performance at the Women’s NCAA Championships came in 2017, when she took seventh in the 1650 free and 12th in the 200 free.
Evans also won two medals at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei, was the bronze medalist in the 800 free at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, and swept the women’s 200, 400 and 800 free at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games.
After her performances in Tokyo, SC Worlds and during the ISL season, SwimSwam named her the 2021 Central American & Caribbean Female Swimmer of the Year.
Given the ISL’s zero-tolerance policy as it relates to doping, Evans would be ineligible to return to the league should it resume competition. Evans’ lone season in the ISL came in 2021 for the DC Trident.
Her last competition on record is the 2021 Short Course Worlds in Abu Dhabi, where she placed seventh in the women’s 400 free and eighth in the 200 free.
Evans has taken part in an anti-doping campaign organized by Bahamas Aquatics, “Clean Swim, Clean Win,” in the past.