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US swimmer McMahon banned four years after arbitration

Kensey McMahon was issued a four-year competition ban by an arbitrator after a doping positive last July at the US national championships (Maddie Meyer)
Kensey McMahon was issued a four-year competition ban by an arbitrator after a doping positive last July at the US national championships (Maddie Meyer)

American swimmer Kensey McMahon has been issued a four-year ban by an independent arbitrator following a positive doping test last July, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old former University of Alabama swimmer, third in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the 2022 short-course World Championships in Melbourne, was suspended following a May 2 evidentiary hearing where USADA and McMahon presented their cases.

The arbitrator imposed a four-year ban dating to July 7, 2023, the date of a provisional suspension, after McMahon tested positive for the non-specified substance vadadustat at the US national championships, with all results forfeited from July 1, including a third in the 1,500m freestyle at the US meet.

McMahon and USADA agreed to delay the hearing so the swimmer could investigate the source of the positive test for vadadustat, a drug used to treat anemia and associated with chronic kidney disease.

Vadadustat is prohibited at all times as being in a category of drugs associated with growth factors and hormones.

In cases involving a positive test for such a non-specified substance, an athlete must prove their use was not intentional to avoid the four-year ban.

McMahon received a four-year suspension because she was unable to establish through evidence that her violation was not intentional.

The arbitrator did not conclude McMahon intended to cheat, only that she could not meet her burden of proof under the rules.

McMahon was the US collegiate champion for Alabama in March 2023 in the 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle

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