Kylie Palmer Faces The Baffling Case Of A 2013 ‘Diuretic Positive’ She Just Heard About

Kylie Palmer by Patrick B. Kraemer

In one of the oddest cases in the history of doping in swimming, Kylie Palmer, of Australia, is alleged to have failed a doping test. Not now, this season, not last year but back in 2013. The banned substance was said to be in such small, trace quantities that FINA dismissed the findings from a sample taken at the World Championships in Barcelona

Want to read more? Our Basic subscription package allows you to access
to all articles barring specific content for Premium and Business
members. Select which service best suits you. Thank you for your
support of independent journalism and quality coverage of world-class swimming.

Log In Register

In one of the oddest cases in the history of doping in swimming, Kylie Palmer, of Australia, is alleged to have failed a doping test. Not now, this season, not last year but back in 2013. The banned substance was said to be in such small, trace quantities that FINA dismissed the findings from a sample taken at the World Championships in Barcelona




I must commend you for writing the most complete accounts of swimmers’ doping cases.

Another thng that I want to know is: what is the banned substance?

Bad Anon

This case reflects a severe abuse of process by the responsible authorities. There should be a statute of limitations of sorts insofar as test results are made public ; retesting stored samples is one thing but when a test comes back “positive” for trace amounts then result must be notified to the relevant authorities within “reasonable” time period. This case makes a mockery of the whole anti doping process which serves to keep cheats out of the sport so as to create a level and fair playing field

Craig Lord

Thanks aswimfan. Yes, the nature of the substance will be interesting (esp. so, given the circumstances).

Craig Lord

Bad Anon, this does indeed raise many questions on the dryland side. Just why this should all come up now is a question that isn’t going to go away any time soon…

My Opinion

If the test presented levels so low that it appears an anomaly and FINA decided there was no case to answer the question must be asked why WADA did not pursue it at the time? why open the case again? And why now?

Innocent until proven guilty and now Kylie faces a terribly unfair situation to try and prove her innocence after such a long time has passed.


The statute of limitations for retrospective testing is 10 years. It’s relevance to this case, like nigh everything we’ve heard to date is open to speculation. On the surface, there look to be some significant errors of process that, in many legal cases, would render such evidence inadmissible but as yet key facts remain undisclosed.

Craig Lord

Yes, My Op, many questions on timing and argument … as wombat says, key facts yet to be disclosed … but the questions stretch further than the facts that are likely to be revealed in the course of the inquiry and hearing… a case like this calls for full disclosure of process and argument. Issues of transparency and precedence are in play – including what and who triggered this action and why…


FINA’s press release on the issue

Reads an awful lot like they’re saying “no, don’t blame us; this is WADA’s show”.

Craig Lord

Yes, Wombat, it does indeed: statement included at foot of the article

Just me

The word PROMPT is used repeatedly in the Rule stated…2 years later does not constitute prompt in my opinion.

Bad Anon

And why does the “prohibited substance ” remain a mystery??????

Craig Lord

Bad Anon, at this point, I’m assuming its for legal reasons in case it goes in favour of the athlete but I suspect we may hear more on that before we’re told officially.


Conspiracy theory #1 … I wonder if WADA are determined to catch out an Australian after the Essendon Football Club saga slipped through the cracks?


I think WADA is targeting Aussie athletes.. They obviously have a vendetta against the Aussies for reasons of their own… Probably to put the Aussies in their place and teach them a lesson


Could there be political motivations on the part of WADA ? Plausible but at this point; impossible to prove. Some Australians, and AUS media in general, CAN be extraordinarily sanctimonious with regards to the transgressions of others.

To non Australians, the Essendon Football Club issue Lucy refers to relates to an on-going issue relating to peptide supplements at a Melbourne AFL club which was investigated by the AFL & ASADA (the AUS anti-doping body). Whilst there were resignations aplenty and people stood down, the AFL verdict of March this year was “unproven” which WADA has sought to appeal to CAS.


Here’s a theory: WADA cracks it at FINA for the way they stuffed up the Sun Yang case. It was embarrassing. Craig wrote about WADA’s dismay in January this year. So WADA thinks to thoroughly review every single FINA incident in recent times to see what else may have been let slide. So in February they stumble upon the small Palmer matter FINA thought they dealt with properly in 2013/2014 but WADA think was enough to charge. after all, why should WADA trust FINA’s judgment anymore…


I assume FINA is still run by a small country from Africa or Central America?

Craig Lord

Tis indeed the season of inquiry, with FINA/ARD/Russian doping, prizes for Putin and perceived weakness of resolve when it comes to big names, Todd. Of course, in the theory you raise, it might have been sensible to get the Sun Yang case right and be as transparent as transparent can be before delving back to 2013…


Rant begins in…3…2…1…
Outrageous. Simply outrageous that an accomplished and decorated swimmer now has to defend herself against an astonishingly vague allegation of wrongdoing TWENTY-TWO MONTHS AGO!!!
I know that WADA has an important job to do, but this has been handled very poorly thanks in large part to the incompetence of FINA and it’s inconsistent attitude to doping. FINA and WADA need to work out their tenuous relationship with one another, because at the moment, the reputation of a young woman is being damaged by it and the real cheats are being allowed to get away with slaps on the wrist or next to no monitoring while they’ve served suspensions.
There are certain national programs and training squads from certain South American, European, Asian and North American countries that are actively assisting certain swimming superstars to cheat. Sun, Park, Efimova and Cielo are just the tip of the iceberg, and FINA knows it.

Kevin Noel

This story is so ridiculous I don’t even know where to begin…

“FINA chief executive Cornel Marculescu confirmed last night that the concentration of the diuretic furosemide in Palmer’s urine sample was so low that its doping review panel initially concluded that it was not a positive test. He said Palmer was also tested on July 25 and August 1(2013), then was target-tested later in the year and all those tests had been negative, reinforcing FINA’s initial finding.”


Cayley Guimarães

Great article, Craig.

How to describe? Outrageous! Preposterous!

Viva la Bang

This is so stupid it defies everything FINA has done so far, and that is saying something!

Personal Best

If an athlete was doping (or if there was any doubt whether they were clean), and FINA dismissed the case, then they’re reckless, and allowed a dope cheat to continue competing.

If the substance was in such small quantities that there was a lot of doubt over whether it constituted doping, as they claimed, then the result shouldn’t have been recorded as a positive test.

It’s so confusing.


Is WADA really putting resources into a Non issue when there are drug cheats out there flouting their suspensions?

Bad Anon

The positive test was for furosemide ,the same drug that Caesar Cielo tested positive for. A precedent was set when Cielo got away with a warning. It’ll be an interesting next few months. How Australia swimming deal with the issue will be equally intersting against the background of how the treated Sun Yang after his doping suspension… intriguing times

Craig Lord

Yes, Bad Anon. The trouble for Kylie Palmer is that she may not be able to even recall what might have caused this to be in her system, so how to explain it and then present that as proof after so much time has passed? Cielo and mates had an instant prop to lean on – a lab that said it was possible that cross contamination had occurred at source…


The vagaries of memory of course going to be a disadvantage for Palmer and her defence, but wouldn’t she have had to record any supplements/medication etc she’d taken on the doping control form at the time of the test?

Leave a comment

Post a comment with your SwimVortex Account. Don't have a SwimVortex Account, Sign Up?

(*) Fields are required!