US National Team Member Tate Jackson Receives 1 Month Suspension From USADA

US National Team swimmer Tate Jackson has been given a 1-month suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) after testing positive for THC, a metabolite of the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Jackson tested positive during a doping sample collection on March 4 while competing at the Pro Swim Series meet in San Antonio. His suspension is dated to March 25, 2021, the date of his provisional suspension, meaning that the suspension has already expired.

The short suspension is one of the first big tests of the new World Anti-Doping Code policy on “substances of abuse,” so claimed because they are frequently used outside of the context of sport.

If an athlete who tests positive for a Substance of Abuse establishes that their use of the substance occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance, the athlete will receive a three-month sanction. If the athlete satisfactorily completes a Substance of Abuse treatment program approved by USADA, the sanction may be further reduced to one month.

USADA cited multiple factors for the reduced suspension. Jackson’s suspension was reduced because his use of cannabis was outside of competition (even though the test happened in competition), it was “unrealted to sport performance,” because they found a “low degree of fault,” and because he completed a counseling program regarding his use of cannabis.

Cannabinoids, the class of substances that includes THC, is only banned in competition under World Anti-Doping Code rules, but can be detected in urine for up to 30 days.

The one-month suspension, plus a stripping of all results since March 4, is a very light sentence. The punishment includes his 4th-place finish in the 100 free at that Pro Swim Series meet (though no points or money was awarded during this year’s series).

Because of the “zero tolerance” policies put in place by the International Swimming League, Jackson is disqualified from participating in that league forever. While the ISL has declined to further parse its policy, thus far, the delimiting factor seems to be whether an outside anti-doping authority gives an athlete a suspension of any length of time. Athletes who have received only warnings, like Etiene Medeiros and Grigory Tarasevich, have been allowed to compete.

Jackson represented the Cali Condors during the 2020 International Swimming League season, where he raced in all 4 regular season matches primarily as a relay specialist and scored 26 MVP points, which tied him for 204th in the league. In the league finale, he swam in both the men’s and mixed 400 free relays as Cali took home the Season 2 title.

A former Texas Longhorn, Jackson currently represents the affiliated Longhorn Aquatics. The 24-year old won 2 gold and 1 silver medal at the 2019 World University Games. The gold medals were both earned on relays, while the silver was an individual win in the 100 free behind only fellow American Zach Apple.

Jackson’s 47.88 in the 100 free from the 2019 US Summer National Championships ranks him as the 6th-fastest American during the Olympic Trials qualifying period and gives him some chance of making the U.S. Olympic Team – the top 6 in the 100 free are usually selected for relay purposes.

Fastest Americans, Men’s 100 LCM Free, Olympic Trials Qualifying Period:

  1. Caeleb Dressel – 46.96 (2019 Worlds)
  2. Ryan Held – 47.39 (2019 Summer Nationals)
  3. Maxime Rooney – 47.61 (2019 Summer Nationals)
  4. Zach Apple – 47.69 (2019 US Open)
  5. Blake Pieroni – 47.87 (2019 Worlds)
  6. Tate Jackson – 47.88 (2019 Summer Nationals)
  7. Dean Farris – 48.07 (2019 Summer Nationals)
  8. Robert Howard – 48.37 (2019 Summer Nationals)
  9. Jack Conger – 48.47 (2019 Summer Nationals)
  10. Daniel Krueger – 48.55 (2019 Summer Nationals)

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Swimdude
10 days ago
Riccardo
10 days ago

It’s insane that they even test for this. Does this do anything constructive?

I’m also not a Marijuana user nor do I have any desire to be but this is just crazy and also a waste of time and resources.

Last edited 10 days ago by Riccardo
Swimdude
Reply to  Riccardo
10 days ago

Also to have to attend a counseling program for a substance that is legal in… how many states now? I just don’t get it

Bub
Reply to  Riccardo
10 days ago

The only thing I can think of is using it as a relaxant. I think that’s what they said when Piero Codia got busted.

Jfigols
Reply to  Bub
9 days ago

Piero Codia was never busted for that! I think you meant Andrea Vergani

Joel Lin
Reply to  Bub
9 days ago

I take it daily for a nerve disorder. Pain management, have a Chuckle candy every nite.

It is absurd this is a tested substance. Believe me, it is not performance enhancing.

Jacob
Reply to  Braden Keith
9 days ago

This not only applies to THC, but to all substances, that might be “performance enhancing”: This is not a valid category! Water, sleep and training are performance enhancing, how many articles are there on how eating better will boost your performance in the pool? Even purely synthetitcal substances like Creatine boost performance and are permitted by law and anti-doping rules.
On the other hand, something like Furosemide is banned, and for a good reason, but not because of any direct performance enancing effects. So I think this debate needs some more distinguished categories. And if something is legally permitted or not is certainly the worst…

sven
Reply to  Jacob
9 days ago

The differences between banned and unbanned are pretty well categorized imo, the problem is the application of these principles isn’t always consistent.

https://www.usada.org/spirit-of-sport/substance-become-prohibited/

Creatine is not synthetic. It can be synthesized, but it’s pretty abundant in meats, especially red meat. It’s also extremely healthy, especially for the brain. Helps mitigate effects of sleep deprivation and accelerates brain healing post-concussion. I don’t know how much creatine one would have to ingest before it became dangerous but it is extremely safe.

So yeah, it’s performance enhancing, but it is available as part of a normal diet but could be supplemented in the case of a vegetarian (spirit of sport) and poses no danger (health).… Read more »

Flynn Moore
10 days ago

Why do we even test for this… it’s not like getting stoned grants any sort of competitive advantage, except for possibly pain management.

Catherine
Reply to  Flynn Moore
9 days ago

It’s banned in competition because it can help people who have serious race jitters. It’s not banned out of competition. Or so I’ve been told.

Ervin
Reply to  Catherine
9 days ago

Do they really think ppl will race high?

Roll
Reply to  Ervin
9 days ago

I have known a single person in all my years of swimming to show up to a finals session of a meet high and they didn’t swim slow but also didn’t swim fast.

Dudeman
Reply to  Ervin
9 days ago

not with marijuana but 4 scoops of preworkout is basically diet meth, yet caffeine is perfectly acceptable

B1G Daddy
Reply to  Ervin
8 days ago

Ummmm….I’ve watched D-1 conference records broken by swimmers high as a kite…so yes I do.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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