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lazyep
May 1st, 2019, 12:04 PM
There's been a bit of a kerfuffle on Slowtwitch.com (which is typical...bring out the pitchforks & torches) regarding the possible use of PEDs by USMS swimmers. Accusations, innuendo and prove it to the group are some of the opinions stated.

https://forum.slowtwitch.com/forum/Slowtwitch_Forums_C1/Triathlon_Forum_F1/PED's_use_among_Masters_athletes_P6920600/

knelson
May 1st, 2019, 03:42 PM
I think it's naïve to think it doesn't happen, but I doubt it's prevalent.

JPEnge
May 1st, 2019, 03:51 PM
Having been involved in several different sports at different levels as an adult, I'd be really wearing red-tinted glasses (or goggles as it were) if I were to say doping isn't happening in Masters swimming at some level.

One sport I've competed in is Olympic-style weightlifting - it's all over the place there, at the obvious elite level down to garage weightlifters that just want to look better for Instagram. I also CrossFit - for a sport/activity that says it's all about health, there's a heck of a lot of vanity use there, not to mention people who have no concept of their actual athletic ability that think just some extra help will get them to the CF Games, and the ridiculous number of people who have to maintain appearances for their token supplement company sponsorship. Heck, I've known people highly suspected to be taking stuff to perform better in beer league softball.

Me, I know I had my athletic glory days back in college. I see no reason to risk the side effects just for a little boost at a swim meet or whatever. Plus I am super gun-shy to risk any reaction with my UC or the drugs I take to manage that.

Kurt Dickson
May 1st, 2019, 10:54 PM
I think it's naïve to think it doesn't happen, but I doubt it's prevalent.
Not prevalent but I believe more common than many think. Most, I believe, as was pointed out on slowtwich forum, take it as anti-aging and therefore justify it. We have medicalized aging (everyone has "low T" at certain age).

My wife is a former age group national champion in time trial. They test 1st and 2nd in every age group at cycling nationals. She would like to take hormone replacement but doesn't because if she were tested, she would be suspended.

It seems we have this debate frequently and it goes nowhere. In my opinion, at the very least, everyone that breaks a national or world record needs to pee in a cup.

sickfish
May 2nd, 2019, 07:45 AM
Funny, the article mentions that someone looked at all the people in Mesa and assumed many of them are juicing. But that never occurred to me. Am I just naïve? I can't say 100% it never happens, but it has never been my go-to excuse for why I don't win.

And what if it's not prevalent? What if we institute testing and don't catch anyone? Will we stop testing? Or will half of us just say "we need to test even harder because we CAN JUST TELL that person X is cheating!"

I think it's a can of worms that we don't really want to open.

Also: there are plenty of 14-year-old girls out there faster than me. And let's just assume that I have fifty pounds of muscle on pretty much all of them. And lower body fat percentage. But they still can kick my ass. If someone beats you in a swimming race, they are probably a better swimmer than you. Accept it.

sickfish
May 2nd, 2019, 07:48 AM
A bigger question for me is: why is the swimming discussion on slow twitch so lively compared to here? How do we get our community to be so engaged? I love talking about swimming on the forums. I don't want to go to slow twitch to do it. Just the name is depressing (for a sprinter)...

Allen Stark
May 2nd, 2019, 04:49 PM
There are a couple of people I've been suspicious of and I have heard rumors. I figure they may make you look younger, but they are health risks and the ultimate way to excell in Masters Swimming is to live a long time.

Kurt Dickson
May 2nd, 2019, 07:59 PM
Funny, the article mentions that someone looked at all the people in Mesa and assumed many of them are juicing. But that never occurred to me. Am I just naïve? I can't say 100% it never happens, but it has never been my go-to excuse for why I don't win.

And what if it's not prevalent? What if we institute testing and don't catch anyone? Will we stop testing? Or will half of us just say "we need to test even harder because we CAN JUST TELL that person X is cheating!"

I think it's a can of worms that we don't really want to open.

Also: there are plenty of 14-year-old girls out there faster than me. And let's just assume that I have fifty pounds of muscle on pretty much all of them. And lower body fat percentage. But they still can kick my ass. If someone beats you in a swimming race, they are probably a better swimmer than you. Accept it.

You make solid points most of which I agree with. Is there a threshold that would make you want to start testing?


As examples, perhaps one person drops 10 seconds in a 200 from any recorded masters time to win a national championship from the “B” heat or someone else breaks 19 world records in a single year. 99% of the USMS world would say “wow” to the previous hypothetical scenarios. 1% would say “wow, but I would like some more information as well.” Both, either, or neither could be legitimately earned but nobody really knows for sure.


I know a witness of at least possession in a highest level masters athlete and I know some that were previous elite youth that refuse to compete because of the “wild west” attitude in USMS. I am not necessarily advocating for testing (I used to be able to pee at will for these guys but now I believe with my gargantuan prostate and level of shyness, I would need about 2 hours and a lot of sweet talking to my unit to produce a few drops—I may be in the minority, but I stopped trying at a baseball game where 100s of strangers are urinating in the same trough!)


I do not believe we have the stomach or the will for testing but for some, the threat of at least some random testing might be somewhat of a deterrent and for others a modicum of peace as they wonder whether there is fair competition.

ourswimmer
May 2nd, 2019, 11:15 PM
Not prevalent but I believe more common than many think. Most, I believe, as was pointed out on slowtwich forum, take it as anti-aging and therefore justify it. We have medicalized aging (everyone has "low T" at certain age).

I think this observation is probably accurate, and it illustrates why testing would be such a not-worth-it nightmare at our level. Many people would assert medical exemptions, some for more-or-less normal aging but others relating to real disorders. Volunteer(s) would have to evaluate those exemptions, not to mention supervising sample collection. Who on earth wants either job, and do we really want anyone who does want either job actually to do it?


Funny, the article mentions that someone looked at all the people in Mesa and assumed many of them are juicing.

Because I agree with Kurt's observation, I find this statement especially funny. If I were on HRT, or maybe just a wee thyroid boost, I might not have gained 15 pounds around the middle in the last few years but I wouldn't look like a ripped figure competitor. I'd just look like the 35-year-old me. I definitely saw a lot of lean and muscular adults on deck in Mesa (some fast, some not) but nobody that I would have said based on looks alone, "can't be natural."

waves101
May 3rd, 2019, 08:35 AM
I've been to several Nationals and every time I go I think, wow, look at all these like minded swimmers who put their time in the water to be physically fit. Granted there are all shapes and sizes. But, never do I think someone is juicing. I know there are lots of people taking supplements (i.e. P2Life) and I guess if that's someone's idea of juicing, I'd be guilty. Naturally, if your into fitness/working out/swimming, inherently, your probably eating better and taking care of yourself more. Thus, hopefully, we all do look better than our couch potato counterparts. But, the hardcore full PEDs, I believe, are extremely few and far between. What I find is great competition and friendly competitors. I look forward to more great Nationals and I won't be worried one ounce that someone else might be juicing. I'll just be focused on how I'm doing against the clock and hopefully I can find my way into the Top 10. Some years I do, some I don't. This seems to be an injury year thus I did not make Mesa. But, I so wanted to be there.

ElaineK
May 3rd, 2019, 09:01 PM
I am so far down in the rankings (+/- top 40% in my best event), that I don't give any thought to women in my age group who are (or may be) taking PED's. The way I figure it is that it will come back to bite them in the :mooning:at some point in their lives. Personally, it doesn't affect me.

What DOES bother me though is that a swimmer taking PED's (most likely) affects the rankings of their closest competition. If my buddy King Frog, for example, lost out on a new 200 meter breaststroke World Record due to a cheater, I would be :bitching: :censor: !!!

Windrath
May 12th, 2019, 05:27 PM
Well, of course there are USMS members using PEDs. It is called "getting older" meds like Testosterone for low T, statins for high cholesterol, beta blockers for heart issues, Pradaxa to prevent blood clots, etc.

These are PEDs because, without them, there might be no performance to improve ....

What was performance enhancing when we were younger is now called "keep us alive." :)

ElaineK
May 14th, 2019, 06:45 PM
Well, of course there are USMS members using PEDs. It is called "getting older" meds like Testosterone for low T, statins for high cholesterol, beta blockers for heart issues, Pradaxa to prevent blood clots, etc.

These are PEDs because, without them, there might be no performance to improve ....

What was performance enhancing when we were younger is now called "keep us alive." :)

Guilty as charge; however, it sure doesn't show up in my race times! :bouncing:

knelson
May 15th, 2019, 12:57 PM
Well, of course there are USMS members using PEDs. It is called "getting older" meds like Testosterone for low T, statins for high cholesterol, beta blockers for heart issues, Pradaxa to prevent blood clots, etc.

I wouldn't group "low T" in with the rest of these.

biestieboy58
May 16th, 2019, 02:00 AM
I am about to turn 61. I consider that I am improving if my times stay the same, as muscle mass drops off after 40 and preciptiously from 60-65. I take a bunch of meds for mild hypertension, type-II diabetes (although swimming has pretty much put my blood sugar numbers back in the high normal range...5.5-ish), and exercise-induced asthma. I seriously doubt any of these subtract seconds from my times...maybe hundredths, if I'm lucky.

One thing I'd add is that there are now so many legal supplements that enhance performance...I'm thinking of NO boosters like carnitine, arginine, ornithine...even Viagra and Cialis! And caffeine is performance enhancing. Protein powders, of course. None of these can take the place of training, however. I think they all might give an edge to the person who is already working very hard, but they won't help pikers.

Most importantly, I don't think ANY of these come close to having the same effect as HGH (for low-T or otherwise) or worse, anabolic steroids. Perhaps we should test for those just those things, but only at big meets and following record swims. Not sure what kind of penalties you'd dole out if someone failed. That could definitely be a "can of worms."

Kurt Dickson
May 16th, 2019, 10:52 AM
I wouldn't group "low T" in with the rest of these.
Thank you. True hypogonadism is extremely rare and so if you are taking testosterone and competing, you are most likely, cheating.

Windrath
May 17th, 2019, 03:37 PM
Not sure why you would not include testosterone if you read about the benefits to energy levels and it used to be used by women and cyclists as a PED - before the current batch of designer PEDs. I had mine measured a few years back. It came back at around 500 (whatever the units were) and the normal range is 500-1500 for my age. So, if 500 is my "natural" level and the range is up to 1500, taking enough to increase my T might result in a substantial increase in performance without tripping the max level. Granted, not anything like HGH, but could be significant.

And, another one I have personal experience with is taking Iron. I have been chronically anemic for the past 15 yrs (no medical reason has been found). if I don't take iron, my hemoglobin drops to about 80% of the accepted minimum and I can't swim hard (feels like having a heart attack after 75 yards or being at 12,000' elevation). if I take iron and my hemoglobin goes to the middle of the acceptable range, I am good to go like when I was younger. For me, taking iron is like a transfusion of high hemoglobin blood (which Lochte and others have been sanctioned for).

So, these may seem like minor things, but they are very significant enhancements.

It is a slippery slope as we get older. We probably can all agree that HGH (like used by Cenegenics) is an obvious PED. But, the rest - not so easy to see the black/white....

knelson
May 17th, 2019, 03:44 PM
I absolutely agree that testosterone is a PED. What I don't agree with is that it should be lumped in with other drugs that are used to treat very common and health-threatening conditions like statins and beta blockers.

gull
May 23rd, 2019, 12:53 PM
The term "Low T" was coined by Solvay Pharmaceuticals to market AndroGel, and it was a tremendous success.

A few years ago I petitioned USMS leadership to issue a simple statement discouraging the use of performance enhancing drugs, knowing that a formal drug testing program would never be instituted due to a lack of support within the organization. I was rebuffed.

Kurt Dickson
May 23rd, 2019, 02:10 PM
The term "Low T" was coined by Solvay Pharmaceuticals to market AndroGel, and it was a tremendous success.

Like everything in the pharmaceutical industry: drugs created in search of a non-existent disease.

JPEnge
May 24th, 2019, 08:33 AM
A few years ago I petitioned USMS leadership to issue a simple statement discouraging the use of performance enhancing drugs, knowing that a formal drug testing program would never be instituted due to a lack of support within the organization. I was rebuffed.

The membership body of USMS is way too... free-form?... of a group of people for that to ever work. I mean, you don't even have to qualify for the biggest meet the organization puts on.


Like everything in the pharmaceutical industry: drugs created in search of a non-existent disease.

America is a country of hypochondriacs, and in that context aging is a disease with no cure... Kind of a cynical view of life that I don't subscribe to!

Kurt Dickson
May 24th, 2019, 02:29 PM
a cynical view of life that I don't subscribe to!

Come work with me in the ER for a day (or 25 years like me)...then you'll start subscribing....:)

JPEnge
May 24th, 2019, 03:56 PM
Come work with me in the ER for a day (or 25 years like me)...then you'll start subscribing....:)

Well, I mean, obviously in an existential sense that's what life leads to... but if you go around treating it as such, you'll spend more effort on that than actually, you know, getting s*** done!

sickfish
May 24th, 2019, 08:38 PM
A few years ago I petitioned USMS leadership to issue a simple statement discouraging the use of performance enhancing drugs, knowing that a formal drug testing program would never be instituted due to a lack of support within the organization. I was rebuffed.

Drugs are bad, mkay?

swoomer
June 4th, 2019, 08:13 PM
Drugs are bad, mkay?
Over the years, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of elite USMS swimmers afflicted with “asthma.”

sickfish
June 6th, 2019, 09:21 AM
Over the years, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of elite USMS swimmers afflicted with “asthma.”

/eyeroll

That statement is so vague it doesn't mean anything. It's just spreading uncertainty. Trolling, basically. Do you have stats? Are you saying people are faking asthma to cheat? How many is "a lot"? What counts as "elite"? Care to name names?

gull
June 6th, 2019, 12:07 PM
Over the years, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of elite USMS swimmers afflicted with “asthma.”

Actually there is a high prevalence of airway dysfunction among elite swimmers.

humpday
June 9th, 2019, 09:22 AM
I think doping is for dopes but it is occurring. My guess is its more prevalent in the older age groups. It's a small minority but really needs to be addressed. I'm a guy who is lucky to finish in the top 50 in any given event. Who cares if I do dope, the focus should be on the top of each age group. In my age group I see some people with suspicious times. People in their 70's swimming faster than 10 years ago, people 65 swimming distance events as fast as they did in college. There's a page on this website called age grading https://www.usms.org/fitness-and-training/articles-and-videos/articles/age-grading?Oldid=143, I think it's pretty accurate in showing moderate but clear decline in performance as we age. One of the best swimmers in my opinion in masters and who has been around a long time is Jim Mc Conica. If you look at his swims over time you see the steady decline in performance that you would expect from aging. Some folks do not show the expected declines in performance and these are the folks I would be concerned with.

ElaineK
June 9th, 2019, 01:36 PM
I think doping is for dopes but it is occurring. My guess is its more prevalent in the older age groups. It's a small minority but really needs to be addressed. I'm a guy who is lucky to finish in the top 50 in any given event. Who cares if I do dope, the focus should be on the top of each age group. In my age group I see some people with suspicious times. People in their 70's swimming faster than 10 years ago, people 65 swimming distance events as fast as they did in college. There's a page on this website called age grading https://www.usms.org/fitness-and-training/articles-and-videos/articles/age-grading?Oldid=143, I think it's pretty accurate in showing moderate but clear decline in performance as we age. One of the best swimmers in my opinion in masters and who has been around a long time is Jim Mc Conica. If you look at his swims over time you see the steady decline in performance that you would expect from aging. Some folks do not show the expected declines in performance and these are the folks I would be concerned with.

:wave:Hi, Stan! It's Elaine Krugman, here. I missed you at the Spring Splash! Since I had never seen "humpday" on the Forums and saw that you were from Georgia, I checked out your profile. Ha! I know that guy!! I even wrote a Swimmer Profile feature on him for the Georgia Masters Newsletter!

Anyway, back to business, you brought up a valid point about the expected decline of aging swimmers. The only thing I can think of if an older doesn't decline is if they got some good coaching and improved their stroke technique and/or if they are training better than in their younger years. Otherwise, what gives? :dunno:

humpday
June 9th, 2019, 04:22 PM
Hi Elaine, well anything is possible but generally the folks I see with times that fall off the curve aren't people who started swimming and with good coaching and practice improved. They are generally people who have been around the sport for years and have been at the top of their age groups for a long time. A lot of these people haven't gotten faster but simply have not slowed down as much as other people in their age groups have. I guess you have to ask yourself what's the most likely explanation for this. I just don't believe people in their sixties and seventies can be swimming times that show little or no decline over decades.

ElaineK
June 9th, 2019, 05:56 PM
Hi Elaine, well anything is possible but generally the folks I see with times that fall off the curve aren't people who started swimming and with good coaching and practice improved. They are generally people who have been around the sport for years and have been at the top of their age groups for a long time. A lot of these people haven't gotten faster but simply have not slowed down as much as other people in their age groups have. I guess you have to ask yourself what's the most likely explanation for this. I just don't believe people in their sixties and seventies can be swimming times that show little or no decline over decades.

I agree. I find it hard to believe, too.

sickfish
June 9th, 2019, 08:31 PM
I don't understand it therefore drugs

gull
June 10th, 2019, 09:14 AM
I just don't believe people in their sixties and seventies can be swimming times that show little or no decline over decades.

In general, you can expect to see a decline in peak VO2 of 10% per decade. That having been said, the rate of decline can be attenuated to some degree through training.

orca1946
June 10th, 2019, 10:57 AM
As I turned 73 before Mesa, I had a tough season leading up to this meet. I was really down on myself for getting slower despite all my miles at swim practice and the 8 hours each week at the gym! A long talk with myself [ into the mirror] lead me to try to accept "aging slow down".
I take all the above related meds except low t? as needed to keep my 5 hip surgeries in check.
Older, over weight, slowly balding 73 year old middle of the road Illinois State Univ. swimmer that I am, won 6 medals In 6 events at mesa with slower times than last year! Yes - I take meds to make it to next year not to gain any advantage.

Celestial
June 10th, 2019, 07:41 PM
So does Botox count? Makes me LOOK younger, anyway!

knelson
June 12th, 2019, 06:05 PM
So does Botox count? Makes me LOOK younger, anyway!

Of course. Wrinkles add drag! :)

smiley92407
July 5th, 2019, 12:47 PM
I must be the only one who is taking performance reducing drugs. I am 60 and have hypertension (under control and swimming helps), and PTSD for the past 3.5 years. I am also taking a muscle relaxer just so I don't get muscle spasms like the one that hit me in Mesa and I could not swim my last 4 events. I have to take meds that make me feel dopey and can make me zone out at times just so I can function in my new normal. The only good part is that I started swimming again 4 years ago and I am still getting in shape after a 34 year absence from the pool. So if you were to look at my times for the past 3 years, they are getting faster, but with the meds, I still feel slow. I don't think my situation fits the description of someone taking PEDs. But I feel if that if I got off the meds, my performances would likely improve even more.

orca1946
August 9th, 2019, 11:55 AM
Does a cortisone shot add a layer of question to my eligibility?