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.


“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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Que the comments claiming doping discrimination against Russians:

JP input is too short

Only took a minute after your comment!


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


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

Buddy you’re mixing up russia and china


is there a difference to this topic?


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.


Lance never tested positive either


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.


needs to be pointed out – Licon ain’t a cheater!


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


MELDONIUM–everyone in Russia has heart issues!

13 % Chinese person

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 .




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.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of 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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