Swimming’s Growing Problem

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Swimming has a doping problem.

And no, this isn’t a history lesson about the notorious 70s and 80s. Or 90s. This is now, and its spreading.

The issue came up most recently with a surge of recent doping suspensions of Russians, including world record holder Yuliya Efimova, former world record holder Sergey Makov, and now open water reigning world champion Vladimir Dyatchin. In fact, its so bad that Russian Sports Minister stated that the Russian swimming federation, and a few other Russian sports federations, are on the brink of suspension. The problem is, you don’t have to dig too deep to find doping violations for high level swimmers from many countries over the last few years.

Here’s a breakdown by year of the 326 FINA doping suspensions of athletes since 2001. (I ignored coaching suspensions as these were typically tied to specific athlete suspensions). Keep in mind that these suspensions include swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo, although swimming dominates the list.

We can see that doping violations have roughly doubled in the last 10 years. But it’s actually much worse than that. These violations include 79 suspensions for Class S8 – Cannabinoids, spread roughly equally across the years other than a slight drop in the last two years. I consider these to be violations of stupidity more than anything else. When we take those out of our data we get the following chart.

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Now we can see that violations have almost tripled in the last few years. Granted, FINA has increased testing over the years, but not enough to account for this huge increase.,

Below is a table of the violations by category over the 2001-2013 time frame.

Doping by Category

We can see 3 very popular areas of cheating. Topping the list are the …read more

Source: Rick’s Blog