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Doping violation suspends Tsawwassen swim star for 12 months

Markus Thormeyer will be able to compete again later this month after sip from partner's water bottle led to a positive test
Two-time Tsawwassen Olympian Markus Thormeyer will be back in the pool soon following a one year doping suspension.

A sip of his partner’s water bottle has cost Markus Thormeyer 12 months of his competitive swimming career.

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) announced earlier today (Feb. 3) the 25-year-old two-time Olympian from Tsawwassen was banned from competing for one year following a doping violation. Thormeyer accepted his voluntary provisional suspension back on Feb. 15, 2022 and he can resume training with the national team and competing on Feb. 14.

A urine sample collected during out-of-competition doping control on Jan. 19, 2022 revealed he had a presence of SARM LGD-4033, a prohibited anabolic agent. The drug is designed to treat muscle wasting and weakness associated with aging.

Subsequent to the CCES’s notification of the adverse analytical finding, Thormeyer accepted the violation and jointly with the CCES, requested a hearing to determine the appropriate period of ineligibility.

Following a hearing on Oct. 5, arbitrator Yves Fortier confirmed that, since Thormeyer unknowingly ingested the prohibited substance, he was at no significant fault for the violation, and the arbitrator imposed a period of ineligibility of 12 months based on the factors outlined in his decision.

Thormeyer told the hearing he determined that SARMs entered his body as a result of sharing a water bottle at his boyfriend’s place in January 2022. His partner, without Thormeyer’s knowledge, was using SARMs and it was mixed into the water bottle.

The decision also factored in that Thormeyer had never tested positive before despite rigorous testing throughout his career. Among those supporting him at the hearing was his long-time coach Ben Keast who began working with Thormeyer when he was head coach of the Winskill Dolphins Swim Club.

“I know, and have observed, that Markus is a clean swimmer who takes his anti-doping obligations seriously. I do not believe Markus would ever intentionally use a banned substance to enhance performance. There is no doubt in my mind that any exposure that Markus had with a prohibited substance was unintentional… I could not, in good conscience, stay silent when someone of Markus character and integrity is on trial,” wrote Keast.

Thormeyer has had a successful swimming career at the intercollegiate, national, and international levels.

He holds multiple Canadian national records, including in the 100 metre and 200 metre backstroke. He represented Canada at both the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics, competing individually and as a part of Canadian relay teams.

Thormeyer has also won multiple Canadian university swimming championships and holds multiple Canadian university records. He was named Swim Canada’s Male Swimmer of the Year in 2018 and 2019 and also won the Bus Phillips Memorial Trophy as UBC’s top male athlete.

Outside of the pool, Thormeyer is a leader in the LGBTQI2S community and successful academically. In September 2021, only two months after competing in the Summer Olympics in Toyko, he started his PhD Zoology studies at UBC.