Current USA Swimming National Team member Amanda Kendall has accepted a sanction for an anti-doping rules violation. She is currently serving a 3-month suspension, beginning on February 14th, 2018 – the date of the test.
On that date, during an out-of-competition sample collection conducted by the United States Anti-Doping Authority (USADA), Kendall declared the use of an inhaler called Breo Ellipta, which contains the prohibited substance vilanterol. This substance is classed as a Beta-2 Agonist, prohibited for both in-competition and out-of-competition use by the World Anti-Doping Code.
In spite of her declaration, the test itself actually came back negative, so Kendall’s self-report was the impetus for the sanction.
While reviewing the case and Kendall’s medical records, USADA established that she was using the inhaler under the care of a physician, but that she was still at fault for failure to obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption for prescribed medications. Further, USADA has issued these instructions on inhaler use.
Besides the suspension, any prices, medals, and points earned after February 7th, 2018, which USADA calls the date she first used the inhaler but was actually the date she stopped (athletes are only required to declare 1 day of usage, and February 7th was the declared date) are forfeited. That means Kendall’s results from the TYR Pro Swim Series stops in Atlanta will be forfeited. She didn’t earn any prize money or points in Atlanta (her best finish was 5th in the 100 fly at 58.82), so it’s just the times that she loses. Kendall didn’t swim in Mesa, the other scheduled stop during her suspension, and her suspension will expire on May 13th, 3 days before the start of the TYR Pro Swim Series at Indianapolis, which Kendall will likely enter given the proximity to Bloomington.
Kendall and her attorney, Rob Chelle, released a statement on the announcement of the sanction (which can be read in full at the end of this article). The statement lays out the series of events leading to the violation, where she was prescribed the inhaler at an urgent care clinic by a physician to treat symptoms of persistent cough, sore throat, and congestion.” She took the inhaler, as prescribed, from February 1st-7th.
In the statement, Kendall acknowledged her responsibility in knowing that she should have been aware of whether prescriptions were in violation of anti-doping rules.
Kendall swam collegiately at LSU and Arizona, and after being dismissed for both teams, wound up training back in her home town of Fairfax, Virginia for a period of time. Among her early-career successes was a gold medal in the 100 free at the 2011 Pan American Games.
After a period out of the spotlight (her best finish at the 2016 Olympic Trials was 27th in the 100 fly), Kendall re-emerged in 2017 with the post-graduate group at Indiana, where at 26-years old she began swimming times she hadn’t swum in more than 5 years. At the 2017 U.S. Summer Nationals, Kendall finished 7th in the 50 fly and 4th in the 100 fly – the latter of which times earned her a spot on the U.S. National Team. Now performing more as a butterflier than in her previous specialty as a sprint freestyler, she was 41st in the 100 free (56.34) and tied for 35th in the 50 free (26.05).
Kendall and most of her Indiana post-graduate teammates are currently representing the Mission Viejo Nadadores in national competition, but still train at Indiana. There, they train for an Indiana staff including Ray Looze, who has been an outspoken critic of doping around the world.
“I’m supportive of the system, and I think this is evidence that the system is working,” said Indiana head coach Ray Looze. “I do wish that the rest of the world was held to the same standard as us, but I have no problem with how this was handled.”
Statement from Amanda Kendall’s attorney, Robert Chelle, of Chelle Law with offices located in Phoenix, AZ and Indianapolis, IN.
USA Swimming National Team member, Amanda Kendall, has accepted a three-month sanction from USADA resulting from the declared use of an inhaler which contained a prohibited substance in conjunction with an out-of-competition drug test in Bloomington, IN on February 14, 2018. She declared the use of the inhaler (without knowledge that it contained a prohibited substance) on her Doping Control Official Record (“DCOR”) which is a list that each athlete must fill out when tested that identifies all substances they have consumed in the last seven days (vitamins, medications, supplements, etc.). Amanda’s sample taken from the drug test was negative; however, her declaration of the use of the inhaler containing a beta-2 agonist was justification for USADA to issue a sanction. The Sanction is back dated to the date of the test, so she will be eligible to compete on May 14th.
In an attempt to be as transparent as possible, Amanda is willing to discuss the exact sequence of events which lead to the Sanction in an effort to educate others on the need for strict vigilance concerning the use of prescribed medications. On February 1, 2018, Amanda presented to an urgent care clinic due to a persistent cough, sore throat, and congestion that had persisted for the previous week. Amanda was diagnosed by one of the urgent care clinic’s physicians with bronchitis and sinusitis, and was prescribed an antibiotic and an inhaler to treat her bronchospasms. Amanda relied upon the advice of the treating physician, and her diagnosis of bronchitis did not immediately alert her to any potential prohibited substances from medications typically prescribed for bronchitis. Thus, she used the inhaler for the prescribed period of time (seven days) without knowledge that it contained a prohibited substance. She then declared her use of the inhaler on her DCOR during the February 14th drug test, and was alerted by USADA that she had declared the use of an inhaler containing a prohibited substance a few weeks later.
Amanda acknowledges that, as a member of the USA Swimming 2017-18 National Team, it is her ultimate responsibility (not the physicians) to make certain any medication she takes is not prohibited, and that she should have checked the 2018 World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List prior to using the inhaler.
Statement from Amanda Kendall
I was prescribed the inhaler from a doctor after being diagnosed with bronchitis and used the inhaler to recover from my illness. The violation is completely my fault for failing to check the prescription on the prohibited substance list. Moving forward I will never make this mistake again, and I hope other athletes will take note on how careful they need to be about what the put into their bodies (even medications prescribed by doctors). This entire situation has been quite embarrassing, and I’d like to thank my coaches and teammates for their support.