Tips & Training

Take at Your Own Risk

Substances that fall under the category of "Take at Your Own Risk" include supplements and herbal products. Because these substances are not regulated by the FDA and may contain substances not identified on the list of ingredients, they are considered to be "Take at Your Own Risk."


If an athlete tests positive for a prohibited substance consumed in a supplement, the athlete will be subject to sanctions. Athletes are responsible for what they choose to consume, and must be aware that the consumption of any substance that is included in this category places them at risk of a positive drug test.


Please call the USADA Drug Reference Line at 1.800.233.0393 prior to purchasing any product.

USA Swimming's Position on Supplements

In an effort to maintain the integrity of our sport and the safety of our athletes, USA Swimming has taken a proactive role in making athletes and coaches more aware of the risks involved in the use of commercially available dietary supplements that have been linked to enhancing performance. Along with the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), USA Swimming considers dietary supplements “take at your own risk,” placing full responsibility for any effects and repercussions on the athlete.


Claims made by the manufacturers/ distributors of dietary supplements regarding the effectiveness of their products are not strictly regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Any commercial dietary supplement is susceptible to containing substances that may appear on the Prohibited Substance list(s) of FINA and/or the WADA. The potential exists for commercial supplements to contain substances that do not appear on the product’s list of ingredients (see Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act for more information). Statistics indicate that in some cases, the use of legal dietary supplements has been linked to positive test results for prohibited substances in athletics.


The choice to use a dietary supplement is the sole responsibility of the athlete and one that should not be made in haste. An athlete is advised to weigh the options heavily, consider the consequences, and take responsibility for his/her actions.


Supplement 411

Supplement 411 (small)While many mainstream dietary supplements are made by responsible manufacturers, a growing number of supplement products contain dangerous and undisclosed ingredients, including steroids, stimulants, and prescription medications, as well as trace amounts of other dangerous contaminants.


With no pre-market product approval or product registration, immense profit margins for the industry, and low consequence for misconduct, the dietary supplement market has become a hotbed for unscrupulous players. As a result, a growing number of Americans are becoming regular users of steroids and other dangerous drugs, while mistakenly believing that they are taking safe and legal products. Supplement 411 aims to provide information, resources, and tips for navigating the issues and minimizing risks.

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