What Is the Cost for a Drug Free Sport?

Commentary By Brent Rutemiller

PHOENIX, Arizona, August 7. FINDING new testing methods that keep pace with the test-avoiding methods used by athletes should always be the No. 1 goal of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Period!

Yet, obstacles to reach that goal still abound. Some are self-inflicted; others are self-serving.

The first obstacle is exposing the weakness in the current testing system. The second obstacle is convincing WADA and USADA to use new technology that may be more efficient and cost-effective.

One weakness in the current testing system is obvious. There is a high cost associated with each test. Therefore, the tests are limited to elite-level athletes.

According to the “2013 Anti-Doping Testing Figures,” 8,616 urine samples were taken from swimmers in all of 2013 (4,264 were taken during competition, and 4,091 were taken out of competition). Many of these tests were of the same athlete. Only .008 were abnormal. On the surface, this appears great for the sport and the governing bodies. But are we really catching all the cheaters?

Athletes today have more resources and more advanced technology than the technology that is currently being used by WADA and USADA. The anti-doping agencies need to improve their game.

According to information received by Swimming World, Dr. Libardoni—a leading expert on a perfected form of testing using high-throughput screening (HTS)—presented his findings and research to the main scientific group at WADA on a more efficient system for screening thousands upon thousands of athletes in a more cost-effective manner. The system he presented is the most advanced and cost-effective system available today.

The “new” system has been on the market for eight years. It has the ability to quickly isolate various markers found in an athlete’s urine. There is even a “breath analyzer” that is in the early stages of being developed.

The use of high-throughput screening procedures would allow for mass testing—including caffeine—for just pennies on the dollar (estimated to be 22 cents vs. $90 per current testing procedures). Implementing high-throughput screening procedures as a pretest to existing procedures would be good for the sport.

With an inexpensive screening procedure that can be administered to the masses, our sport will easily be able to detect early abnormalities that could then be followed up with more rigorous testing procedures.

Not wanting to admit that there is a weakness in their current system and, perhaps, a better system on the market than what is currently being used, WADA refused to take any further action and dismissed the research findings presented by Dr. Libardoni. However, WADA is funding similar research. But why?

Exposing the weakness in the current drug testing system has been a constant battle led by John Leonard, executive director of the American Swim Coaches Association, and George Block, president of the World Swim Coaches Association. Why WADA was so quick to dismiss new technology presented by Dr. Libardoni requires more questioning. More media exposure and, perhaps, some investigative journalism as to whom WADA is serving needs to be brought to the public’s attention.

The following questions need to be asked:
• What costs are associated with the use of the current system in terms of contracts, labs and equipment?
• What personnel, employees or contractors have a vested interest in the current system?
• Why can’t there be a two-tiered system—one that screens and another that tests?

Over the next few months, Swimming World will investigate further into these areas.

By Brent T. Rutemiller Publisher of Swimming World Magazine on page 08 of Swimming World Magazine

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Curious about what you’ll find inside the August 2014 issue of Swimming World Magazine?


Photo Courtesy:

CaelebDressel of Clay High School (Green Cove Springs, Fla) is Swimming World’s Male High School Swimmer of the Year. He led the country in the 50 and 200 yard freestyles, and also set the overall national high school record in the 50 and national public school record in the 100 fly-After the high school season, swimming for his club team, the Bolles Sharks, he became the first 18-and-under swimmer to break 19 seconds in the 50 yard free. (See story, page 22). Photo by Peter Bick



012 From Fun to Fast

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by Michael J. Stott

Summer league is just as much about friends, fun and personalities as it is about swimming and competition.

018 The Complete Package

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by Jason Marsteller

Katie Ledecky not only is Swimming World Magazine’s Female High School Swimmer of the Year-and among the best women’s distance freestylers of all time-but she’s also “a great kid who truly cares about her community.”

022 Life in the Fast Lane

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by Shoshanna Rutemiller

CaelebDressel is the quickest in high school ever in the 50 yard free as well as the public school record holder in the 100 fly-reasons that swimming World Magazine named him its Male High School Swimmer of the Year.

025 Abundant Talent

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by Jason Marsteller and Shoshanna Rutemiller

Besides Katie Ledecky and CaelebDressel, who were named Swimming World Magazine’s 2014 Female and Male High School Swimmers of the Year, there were several deserving swimmers who were in the hunt for the magazine’s top high school individual award.

029 Virtual Swimming

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by Jeff Commings

Even though the world’s top swimmers won’t compete head-to-head this year, the next best thing is to predict what might happen in a virtual showdown between swimmers at the Pan Pacifics and Europeans, with both championships taking place in August.

033 Top 10 Triumphs & Tragedies

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by Chuck Warner

Beginning in its April issue and continuing monthly through January 2015, Swimming World Magazine is counting down the top 10 triumphs and tragedies in the history of swimming. This month: #6 saving Atlanta: The Battle against Illegal Drugs.


010 Technique: Breathing of the Fly

by Jeff Commings

Before Michael Phelps came into international prominence, coaches never advised their swimmers to breathe every stroke in butterfly. “The Greatest Olympian of All Time” has spawned a generation of every-stroke breathers, but is that always the best way to swim a butterfly race?

014 Swimming Misconceptions: The Catch Phase

by Rod Havriluk

A common swimming technique misconception is that the catch is a “phase” of the stroke cycle. A more appropriate definition is a “transition point.”

019 Katie Ledecky’s Favorite Sets

by Jeff Commings and Bruce Gemmell

040 Q&A With Coach Sue Chen

by Michael J. Stott

041 How They Train Morgan Hill

by Michael j. Stott


037 Dryside Training: 4 Exercises for a Stronger Back

by J.R. Rosania

038 Nutrition: Balance Your Energy Sources

Republished with permission of VeloPress from “Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes”

039 Ask Dr. Shannon

by Shannon McBride

Last month’s column presented four upper body stretches for pregnant women that can be performed before and/or after swimming. This month, Dr Shannon demonstrates four lower body stretches.


016 Goldminds: Make Every Day Count

by Wayne Goldsmith

Here’s what a successful swimmer’s day should look like from “dawn to yawn”.

043 Fund Raising: Show Me The Money!

by Maureen Rankin

Finding ways to make money for a swim club has always been difficult. However, clubs-big or small-can learn how to become financially successful simply by looking at some of the most financially sound and successful teams in USA Swimming.

045 Up & Comers


008 A Voice for the Sport

046 Gutter Talk

048 Parting Shot