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Meldonium For Marathoners?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Maria Sharapova, the world’s highest-paid female athlete and 5-time tennis Grand Slam champion, failed a drug test at the Australian Open for taking meldonium.

While we have not heard of swimmers taking meldonium for health reasons or competitive advantages, we wonder if any open water swimmers do specifically take medications, drugs, supplements or any kind of banned substances to gain a competitive advantage.

Substances can range from commercially available steroids that have been included on WADA banned lists for some time to specific medications that have recently been added like meldonium.

While Olympic medals, commercial sponsorships and cash prizes can provide suitable incentive for some athletes to seek competitive advantages through chemical substances (see here), are there other motivations – personal and private – for amateur athletes to similar seek and take banned substances so they can complete or win an open water swim?

* Would you take medications to complete a marathon swim or channel swim?
* Would you take banned substances in order to win a race?
* Do you know athletes who take supplements – specifically banned substances – in order to achieve their athletic goals?
* What are the reasons for doing so?
* Is the achievement of athletic goals made any less valuable or respectable when banned substances are received?
* If any individual wants to take banned substances for an individual open water swim (marathon, channel, ice, or stage swim), does it matter? Should this be an individual choice?

Anonymous responses and comments to these questions will be compiled and reported by the Daily News of Open Water Swimming. No names or confidential information will be used. The Daily News of Open Water Swimming wants to report on the use – or non-use – of banned substances in the open water swimming world.

Send your confidential comments here.

Readers’ cooperation is greatly appreciated.

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