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Anti-Doping Information

USRowing is committed to fair play. All athletes participating in selection for, and competing as a member of, all U.S. national rowing teams must be in compliance with United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), International Olympic Committee (IOC), United States Olympic Committee (USOC), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), FISA and USRowing rules and requirements relating to banned substances, including but not limited to undergoing testing and obtaining and maintaining current therapeutic use exemptions as needed. Failure to adhere to anti-doping rules and requirements may result in an athlete losing eligibility to compete for the United States.

Athletes are responsible for consulting USADA and WADA resources prior to taking any medications or other substances to ensure what they are taking is not prohibited.

Scroll down for more information on:
  1. The WADA Prohibited List 
  2. In-Competition Testing
  3. Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs)
  4. Out of Competition Testing & the Registered Testing Pool
  5. Retirement
  6. Dietary Supplements & Energy Drinks
  7. Performance Enhancing Substances

For General Anti-Doping Inquiries, please contact Liz Soutter at

If you have a question pertaining to a medication or substance you are taking, please contact a member of our medical committee:
  • Dr. Tim Hosea - Therapeutic Use Exemptions -
  • Dr. Kate Ackerman -
  • Dr. Darren McAuley -
  • Dr. Kristine Karlson-, 
  • Dr. Jo Hannafin -


The WADA Prohibited List is updated on January 1st annually. The Global Drug Reference Online (DRO) is a searchable database of the 2015 WADA Prohibited List, and is also updated annually. The DRO is the easiest way to check the status of your medications, or to check the status of a specific ingredient. 

HERE are the major changes to the 2015 WADA Prohibited List.

HERE are the major changes to the 2015 WADA Code.

If athletes have any questions, they should call the USADA Athlete Express at (800) 233-0393 or email

For more information on the Prohibited List, please see the
Athlete Guide to the WADA Prohibited List.    


All competing athletes at USRowing and FISA events are subject to In-Competition drug testing conducted by USADA. Athletes should be prepared for testing prior to competing at any USRowing or FISA event. To ensure your compliance prior to competition, please follow this pre-event checklist:

Please note– It is the athletes’ responsibility to ensure that they are USADA and WADA compliant before competition.

  1. Check Your Medication
    To check the status of your medication against the WADA prohibited list, please check the Global Drug Reference Online. To speak with an expert, you can also call the USADA Drug Reference Line at 800-233-0393. Keep in mind, these resources do not provide guidance on nutritional supplements. For guidance on nutritional supplements, please visit, or see the section below entitled “Dietary Supplements & Energy Drinks.”

  2. Therapeutic Use Exemptions 
    Depending on the condition of your medication, you may have to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). If a substance you are taking requires a TUE, you must have an approved TUE at the time of competition– a TUE pending approval is not acceptable. Please note that a TUE will not always be granted.
    For more information on TUEs, please scroll down.

  3. Know Your Rights and Responsibilities 
    At any USRowing and FISA event, all participants are subject to testing. If you are selected, know your rights and responsibilities during the testing process including sample collection process rights and responsibilities, minor athletes rights, and disabled athlete rights.

  4. Familiarize Yourself with the Sample Collection Process
    If you are selected for testing, you are subject to both blood and urine testing. The processes are designed to be effective, yet safe and comfortable for the athlete. Understanding the processes should help to make them less intimidating.

  5. After the Event
    USADA will send a copy of your results to the address that is listed on the Doping Control Official Record. Learn more about the results management process.


The USADA TUE policy is consistent with the WADA International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions and is designed to protect the rights of clean athletes. All TUEs can be submitted to USADA, and will be passed on to FISA for approval if that athlete will be competing at a FISA Sanctioned event. To determine if you need a TUE, please follow the steps below:

For questions regarding TUEs, please contact Dr. Tim Hosea at

1. Determine the Status of your Medication

Search your medication on the Global DRO to determine its prohibited status. Substances will fall into one of three categories.

  • Not Prohibited In-Competition or Out-of-Competition (STOP HERE – No TUE or further action required)
  • Prohibited In-Competition and Not Prohibited Out-of-Competition (Continue to Step 2)
  • Prohibited In-Competition & Prohibited Out-of-Competition (Continue to Step 2)

Not Sure? Contact the USADA Athlete Express Hotline at (800) 233-0393 or

2. Determine your Competition Level

Athletes will be in one of two categories of competition level– this will dictate whether or not a TUE is required.

International / National Level – this includes:
  • any athlete who is or who has ever been in any USADA testing pool
  • any athlete in an international federation testing pool
  • any athlete competing in an event sanctioned by FISA (including events in the U.S.)
  • any athlete who has ever tested positive for a prohibited substance
Non-National - All Other Athletes 

3. Take Action

For International/National Level athletes, a therapeutic use exemption is needed prior to using any prohibited substance or method. This applies regardless of whether the substance is prohibited in-competition only, or at all times.

For Non-National athletes, if the substance is prohibited only during competition, but not out-of-competition, then a TUE is not needed prior to competition (you may be asked to provide medical documentation after competition). If the substance is prohibited both in-competition and out-of-competition, then a TUE is needed prior to competition, except for the following substances.

  • Diuretics and masking agents
  • Beta-2 agonists
  • Insulin (If diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes.) 


For a blank TUE form, PLEASE CLICK HERE


In addition to undergoing in-competition testing, certain athletes will be registered by USRowing in the USADA registered testing pool (RTP), making them subject to out of competition testing by USADA and/or WADA. 

Who is in the RTP?
The following athletes will be enrolled by USRowing in the USADA Registered Testing Pool (RTP):

  • 1- National Team members from the most recent Senior World Championship team
  • 2- Athletes receiving Direct Athlete Support or Elite Athlete Health Insurance from the USOC 
  • 3- Athletes who meet the established requirements from selected placements at the most recent National Selection Regattas I and II (Top 6 in a one person event, top 3 in a two person event.
  • 4- Athletes who are invited to a Senior Selection Camp 

Once an athlete has met the criteria to be added to the Registered Testing Pool for USADA they remain in the Registered Testing Pool until they no longer meet the established criteria, or until the next Senior World Championship Team has been named, or until the athlete officially retires. Athletes who meet the criteria at an NSR, or through Selection Camp, will remain in the pool until the Senior World Championship Team for that year is named, at which point they would need to meet criteria 1 or 2 to remain in the pool. Athletes will receive notification from USADA when they are added to, or removed from, the Registered Testing Pool. Athletes are not officially removed from the RTP until they have received removal confirmation from USADA.

What does it mean to be in the RTP?

These athletes will be required to submit detailed “Quarterly Whereabouts Filings” once enrolled. Athletes in the RTP are subject to out-of-competition testing at any time while enrolled in the pool. 


Athletes in the USADA Registered Testing Pools must submit a “Quarterly Whereabouts Filing”. These athletes provide information including their living address, training location, training schedule, regularly scheduled activities schedule, competition schedule and travel schedule. Athletes may be tested by USADA and/or WADA. Athletes are responsible for keeping their whereabouts up-to-date and accurate, and are responsible for submitting all USADA paperwork on time. Once enrolled in the RTP, athletes will be contacted with instructions on submitting whereabouts. To update or make changes to whereabouts after they have been submitted, athletes can:

  • Email from the e-mail address that USADA has on file
  • Text from the phone number that USADA has on file
  • Use USADA’s free mobile application for Droids, iPhones, and Blackberrys (
  • Log into their accounts at

Whereabouts Failures

All athletes in the RTP who do not file their Quarterly Whereabouts Filing by the established deadline will be issued a Filing Failure. A Filing Failure falls under the category of a Whereabouts Failure. Providing whereabouts information that is incomplete or does not provide detailed location information is also a Filing Failure. 

Athletes are notified by USADA of the established deadlines for submittal of “Quarterly Whereabouts Filings". Athletes should submit their “Quarterly Whereabouts Filing” prior to the established deadline via the USADA website.

Another type of Whereabouts Failure is a Missed Test. If an athlete is not available for testing at the locations indicated on his/her Whereabouts Filing, s/he is at risk of being issued a missed test. 

In order to prevent a "Missed Test" you should update immediately if you:

  • Will not be available during your 60 minute window (ITP only – see below)
  • Will be attending a competition you did not include on your whereabouts filing
  • Will not be attending practice on a day you indicated you would be
  • Will be traveling out of town for the weekend or overnight
  • Will be doing a personal appearance/clinic out of town
  • Will be leaving for a competition a day earlier than you indicated you would
  • Will be practicing at a different location than is listed on your Whereabouts Filing
  • Will be practicing at a different time than is listed on your Whereabouts Filing
  • Will be living at a new address/phone number

If an athlete is issued three “Whereabouts Failures” in 12 months, this is considered an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). This violation could result in possible loss of an athlete’s USOC funding, possible loss of medals, prizes, and prize money, possible loss of an athletes’ ability to compete in that sport, possible loss of an athletes’ eligibility to compete at the Olympics or Paralympics, and a public announcement.


The USADA RTP is divided into two groups: the International Testing Pool (ITP) and the National Testing Pool (NTP). All athletes who meet the above criteria will be placed in the NTP, unless FISA has notified USRowing that a particular athletes must be in the ITP. For information on the difference between these two pools, please see the image below.

Athletes in the ITP are required to provide a “60-minute window” each day (including days when they are not training and days when they are traveling), between 6:00am and 11:00pm, specifying where they will be available for testing. This 60-minute window does not need to be the same hour each day. This is in addition to the other whereabouts information provided. If the athlete is not available for testing during those 60 minutes a “Missed Test” will be issued. A “Missed Test” falls under the category of a “Whereabouts Failure.” 


{An athlete in the ITP is not at the provided location when USADA comes to test him in the “60-minute window” provided on his calendar. The athlete is issued a “Missed Test”. The athlete then fails to submit his “Quarterly Whereabouts Filing” by the deadline and obtains a “Filing Failure”. The athlete neglects to update his schedule with a trip out of town and is not available when USADA comes to test him in the “60-minute window” provided on his calendar. He is issued a “Missed Test”. This is three “Whereabouts Failures” within 12 months, meaning the athlete would have committed a doping control violation and is subject to suspension.} 



Athletes who are retiring from the sport of rowing can remove themselves from the RTP by e-mailing USADA at Until confirmation of retirement from USADA has been received, athletes should continue to abide by all rules and adhere to all RTP deadlines. Athletes in the ITP must also notify FISA of their retirement by completing and submitting this form

In accordance with USADA’s retirement policy, if an athlete wants to come out of retirement and return to eligible status, he/she must enroll in the USADA RTP for at least 6 months in advance participating in any Competition or Event sanctioned or organized by the USOC, any national or regional championship sanctioned by an NGB or any other member of the USOC or who wishes to participate on any team organized or nominated by the USOC, or any International Event. If the athlete was in the ITP at the time of retirement, they must also notify FISA of their intention to return to competition 6 months prior to competition. 

To re-enroll in the USADA RTP, an athlete must send a return from retirement statement through courier, fax, or e-mail ( to USADA. If an athlete sends the return from retirement statement via e-mail, the statement must come from an e-mail address that is on file with USADA.

Please contact Liz Soutter at 609-751-0714 or with questions, or for more information.


If you choose to take supplements, you must educate yourself on the risks. Below are some FAQs in regards to Dietary Supplements and Energy Drinks, as adapted from USADA’s TrueSport program. For more information, please see the Resources section below.

What is a dietary supplement?
Dietary supplements are products containing dietary or nutritional ingredients intended to supplement the diet.

If a dietary supplement claims it is “natural,” does that make it safe?
Just because a product claims to be natural does not make it safe to use. There are many natural substances that are toxic, poisonous, or deadly if used.

Can I guarantee the accuracy of the ingredients listed on the label of my supplement?
Due to minimal regulations in the supplement industry, some products are mislabeled, include too much or too little of intended ingredients, are contaminated by substances such as pesticides or heavy metals or may be inadvertently tainted with sport-prohibited or potent substances due to cross-contamination. In addition, some companies sometimes label a product natural even when all of the ingredients have been synthesized in a lab. You cannot rely on the label to tell you what is in the bottle.

How does a product come to be labeled as a dietary supplement?
Just because a product is labeled as a supplement doesn’t mean that the product or the ingredients have been inspected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). No supplement is approved by the FDA.

What are the possible side effects of energy drinks?
Heart palpitations, headaches, respiratory distress, insomnia, tremors/shaking, dizziness, agitation/restlessness, chest pain, gastrointestinal upset, tingling or numbness of the skin. In the case of an overdose, one may experience confusion, breathing trouble, muscle twitches, convulsions, fever, hallucinations, vomiting, increased thirst, irregular or rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, and an appearance of nervousness.




Performance enhancing substances can ruin an athlete’s career, health, and personal life. As an athlete, you are always responsible for what goes into your body. Below are some FAQs in regards to Performance Enhancing Substances, as adapted from USADA’s TrueSport program. For more information, please see the Resources section below.

What is a Performance Enhancing Substance?
Typically, a substance or method is performance enhancing when it improves sport performance and poses a health risk to an athlete. Performance enhancing substances range from steroids to prescription drugs that are taken for a non-legitimate use.

What are some of the physical side effects of performance enhancing substances?
Acute, or short term, side effects include a sudden change in physical appearance, a sudden shift in performance level (up or down), increased or flared acne on the body, nausea, tremors, cardiac arrhythmia.

Chronic, or long term, side effects include increased risk of heart attack, stroke and seizures, weakening of the immune system, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and sexual side effects (for example, breast development in males).

Remember– as an athlete you are always responsible for what goes into your body. Never take a substance unless you are fully aware of what it contains. If you are required to take a banned or conditional substance for medical reasons, please scroll up to the section entitled Therapeutic Use Exemptions.