US National Teamer Receives Public Warning for Anti-Doping Rules Violation

The United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) has given USA Swimming National Teamer Will Licon a public warning for an anti-doping rules violation.

Per USADA:

“Licon, 24, declared the use of an inhaler called Breo Ellipta, which contains the prohibited substance vilanterol trifenatate, during an out-of-competition test on June 3, 2019. The results of that out-of-competition test were negative for any prohibited substances, including vilanterol trifenatate. Vilanterol trifenatate is a Beta-2 Agonist, prohibited under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the rules of the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (“Code”) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) Prohibited List. Beta-2 agonists are listed as Specified Substances, and therefore can result in a reduced sanction.”

USADA says that they reviewed Licon’s medical records and determined that a reduced sanction was appropriate on the basis of a prescription by a physician to use the inhaler to treat asthma, and that he declared the inhaler on his doping control form, and that he didn’t test positive for the banned substance.

All athletes are required to declare all medical substances, including supplements, over the counter medicine, and prescription medicine, when an anti-doping test is administered.

“Although Licon stopped taking the medication as soon as he learned it was prohibited, he should have obtained a TUE or investigated other permitted alternatives with his doctor prior to use, as USADA has stated in its guidance to athletes,” USADA said in a statement.

The case is similar to one in which Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros tested positive for a different asthma medication where she had a TUE, but let it lapse. Medeiros also received just a public warning for her test. While similar, there are two key differences: Medeiros’ banned substance actually showed up on her test, while Licon’s didn’t; and, according to USADA, Licon never had a TUE for his inhaler, while Medeiros did previously.

The case also holds similarities to that of US National Teamer Amanda Kendall, who declared a banned substance on her medical form, but did not actually test positive. Hers was also for an inhaler. She received a 3-month suspension from USADA. We have reached out to ask why the punishments were different.

Licon currently trains as a post-graduate swimmer at the University of Texas. Between the men’s and women’s programs there, the program has 4 swimmers who have registered doping violations in the last 18 months, with all four receiving greatly-reduced suspensions:

Both Ariola’s and Willenbring’s positive tests came before they began official varsity competition for the University of Texas, while both Cox’s and Licon’s violations came after completing their NCAA eligibility.

Licon, 24, is primarily a breaststroker and IMer.  He is a former NCAA, American, and US Open Record holder in the 200 yard breaststroke. He represented the US internationally at the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.

Licon didn’t race at this week’s US National Championships. He was announced as a member of the LA Current in June; we have asked the ISL for an update on his status within the league.

 

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Dude
2 years ago

Que the comments claiming doping discrimination against Russians:

JP input is too short
Reply to  Dude
2 years ago

Only took a minute after your comment!

Sccoach
2 years ago

Now if a Russian did it they’d be classified as a cheater for the rest of their life!!!

mcmflyguy
Reply to  Sccoach
2 years ago

except… he didn’t test positive, he also didn’t destroy a vial of blood/urine whatever. he said yes i have used an inhaler with that substance but i have stopped, and i will submit to a test. tested negative. he followed rules and protocol.

Curious Swimma
Reply to  mcmflyguy
2 years ago

Buddy you’re mixing up russia and china

Meeeeee
Reply to  Curious Swimma
2 years ago

is there a difference to this topic?

mcmflyguy
Reply to  Curious Swimma
1 year ago

i was CMA (covering my …) with making a blanket statement of all those controversial doping events going on, testing positive (russia) breaking vials (china) i was also making the point that he did NONE of those furthering the point of he did nothing wrong except taking the substance when it wasn’t banned but then notified them that he had been taking it when it became banned.

swimmerswammer
Reply to  mcmflyguy
1 year ago

Lance never tested positive either

mcmflyguy
Reply to  swimmerswammer
1 year ago

If your going to say that WL has just as elaborate of a hiding scheme as lance armstrong then you better have some big proof for that. your comparing one of USAs swimmers, top 10 in his event, to THE top cyclist at his time. If he has the same scheme then its defiantly NOT working for him. also the substance could have ran its course through him from when he last used it to when it became banned and he was tested.

Sccoach
Reply to  Sccoach
2 years ago

I should have replied to the first post. I was joking with reference to his post. Fail on my part

Snarky
Reply to  Sccoach
1 year ago

MELDONIUM–everyone in Russia has heart issues!

13 % Chinese person
Reply to  Snarky
1 year ago

We should get SwSw volunteers to go to a variety of countries & medical systems & compare get diagnosises & medications suggested .

I remember being at Atlanta airport where there were billboards listing some rather prosaic symptons & suggesting if you had them you may have X disease & to contact Y for details & info on status of research .

bob
Reply to  Sccoach
1 year ago

yes

Tim
2 years ago

In my view if you have a prescription from an independent doctor you should be allowed to take whatever you need to get well. GPs don’t go handing out medicine unless you need it. I think Park Tae-hwan was very hard done by with his ban as he was administered the medicine by a doctor in hospital. That cannot be cheating.

It is different if you have a personal physician like Sun Yang who can give you whatever you want.

ShimSwam
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

as a GP myself, I strongly agree with this statement! people very often want meds when they go to the doctor.

sketchy that all of this is happening at texas…

Swimfan
Reply to  ShimSwam
2 years ago

Multivitamins and inhalers does not equal sketchy. Give me a break.

Meeeeee
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

There are definitely physicians who have been implicated in providing PEDs to athletes. It goes way back.

My quesiton to Braden is, if you knew the z-pak was wrong, why did you take it?

Togger
2 years ago

We know Americans don’t cheat. They should save the money spent testing athletes who we know, due to their nationality, will always be clean and spend it on more rigorous testing of Chinese, Russians and Brazilians.

Sir Swimsalot
Reply to  Togger
2 years ago

I really can’t tell if you’re being serious or being incredibly sarcastic. All nations should be held to the same standards.

Curious Swimma
Reply to  Sir Swimsalot
2 years ago

He is being sarcastic, due to the influx of commenters on here with the hypocritical view that americans never cheat and other big nations do. A good example is how everyone went to defend Cox, and as she claimed it was the tap water that made her test positive and no one doubted her. Later it showed it was her medicine. I for one agree with you that everyone should be tested. But I think the sarcasm comes from people being so quick to judge a non-American.

Swimfan
Reply to  Curious Swimma
2 years ago

With Cox it was not her “medicine.” A banned substance was detected in her multivitamin! It was proven that her multivitamin was contaminated. And she still gets called a cheat. She brought up the possibility of the water being contaminated because she couldn’t figure out where else the substance could’ve come from. Why is that so difficult for people to grasp. Quite different than someone ordering a bodyguard to SMASH a BLOOD SAMPLE with a HAMMER!!!

Togger
Reply to  Sir Swimsalot
2 years ago

I was being sarcastic. To be fair people on here are giving balanced views, but some of the previous ones have shown a very marked split between US swimmers and those from any other country (including athletes from countries with no notable doping history, such as Jack and Koga).

IRen
Reply to  Togger
1 year ago

It may be many of us are more familiar with the process in America and believe that for the most part, swimming is a pretty “clean” sport compared to others. Not perfect but cleaner than most. Stepping outside the US, countries like Russia and China are not known for producing the “cleanest” athletes or programs (anyone seen Icarus?). Not speaking in absolutes on either side, but the whole
vial smashing and still being allowed to compete was ridiculous.

REASONBE
Reply to  IRen
1 year ago

It’s not ridiculous if your career is on the line when you hand your blood vials to potential imposters with invalid papers to prove their identity. Think about it.

Swammer
2 years ago

Let the man breathe.

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  Swammer
2 years ago

His nose clip’s too tight.

CraigH
2 years ago

Pretty sure Licon was too old in 2017 to compete at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships.

Flswimmer
Reply to  CraigH
2 years ago

And also the fact that there was no Junior Pan Pacific meet in 2017… 🙂

Timekeeper
Reply to  Flswimmer
2 years ago

And also not a former, but current NCAA and American record holder. When he does it this week in longcourse in the 2breast people are going to be quick to judge even though the American record is just under a second away from his pb

Paolo
2 years ago

USA don’t need these swimmers. National USA must have only clean swimmers.

Fairness
2 years ago

Where is Horton?

Dcswim
Reply to  Fairness
2 years ago

Currently constructing a podium to not stand on

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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