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Madisyn Cox, top U.S. IM swimmer, argues 2-year ban due to tap water

Budapest 2017 FINA World Championship - Day 10

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 23: Madisyn Cox of the United States looks on prior to the Women’s 200m Individual Medley Semi-Finals on day ten of the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships on July 23, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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Madisyn Cox, the 2017 World bronze medalist in the 200m individual medley, was banned two years for testing positive for a substance she believed she ingested via tap water.

The banned substance is Trimetazidine, a medication used to treat angina, and Cox reportedly said “a world-renowned biochemist” equated her level of the substance to “a pinch of salt in an Olympic size swimming pool.”

“While the scientific expert who reviewed my case believes that I unknowingly ingested the Trimetazidine through tap water consumed the night before the test, the [FINA doping] panel determined that more scientific evidence was needed to prove this,” Cox said, according to “The presence of pharmaceuticals like Trimetazidine in U.S. drinking water is well documented.”

Cox’s backdated suspension runs through March 2, 2020 and would keep Cox out of next week’s U.S. Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships in August and the 2019 World Championships. Cox is the top-ranked U.S. 200m IM swimmer this year.

“I am devastated,” she said, according to Swimswam. “I honestly believed through this entire process that I would receive a no fault ruling, due to the strength of my case, a completely clean hair sample, dozens and dozens of clean tests and a history of carrying myself with honor and integrity throughout my academic and swimming career. I stand on my personal and competitive reputation.”

Her positive test was Feb. 5.

A FINA doping panel said a possible four-year ban was reduced to two years because the amount of the drug found was low, Cox’s “moral character” and the “credible nature” of her testimony.

“The panel is prepared to take the highly unusual step of accepting that Ms. Cox did not act with intention in the absence of proof regarding the source of the Trimetazidine that came into her body,” according to a press release. “However the Trimetazidine did enter her body (which is admitted), it was unintentional. In other words, Ms. Cox did not intend to dope and the adverse analytical finding (AAF) that has been admitted was unintentional.

“Cox is an honest, very hardworking and highly credible athlete who is not a ‘cheat.’ She is, unfortunately, caught in a dilemma.”

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