By Nick Butler

Yulia Efimova has been handed a 16-month back-dated ban for her positive drugs test ©Getty ImagesOlympic bronze medal-winning swimmer Yulia Efimova of Russia has been handed a backdated 16-month ban by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) after a positive drugs test last year.

In addition to a 200 metres bronze medal at London 2012, the 22-year-old breaststroke specialist has also won three world titles along with four silvers and a bronze across the Rome 2009, Shanghai 2011 and Barcelona 2013 World Championships.

With two of those gold medals coming in Barcelona, 2013 had been a superb year for the Russian in which she also won four gold medals at the Summer Universiade in Kazan, before taking five titles at the European Short-course Championships in the Danish town of Herning in December. 

But the following month it emerged she had tested positive in October for the anabolic steroid 7-keto-DHEA, which speeds up metabolism and helps with weight loss, at an out of competition sampling in Los Angeles.

"The FINA Doping Panel decided according to the FINA DC Rule 10.5.2 to impose on the athlete a period of 16 months ineligibility, starting on October 31, 2013 and ending at the conclusion of February 28, 2015, for her first anti-doping rule violation," a statement today explained.

This means the Russian will be eligible to return to competition in time for a home World Championships later in 2015, due to be held in Kazan from July 24 until August 9.

She has already been stripped of the five European Short-course titles she won in Herning, but it is not thought she will be disqualified from any event before October 31.

Yulia Efimova celebrates her 200m breaststroke gold medal at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona shortly before her failed test ©Getty ImagesYulia Efimova celebrates her 200m breaststroke gold medal at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona shortly before her failed test ©Getty Images

Efimova claims that traces of the steroid came from a supplement she bought at a store in California, where she was training, and that a salesperson assured her the supplement was "doping-free", though DHEA was clearly listed as an ingredient on the label.

She claimed neither to know what DHEA was nor that it was a prohibited substance.

The Russian also claimed her coach, Dave Salo, is adamantly opposed to the use of supplements, despite the fact Salo also coached a leading rival, United States star Jessica Hardy, who withdrew from the Beijing 2008 Olympics after testing positive.

But, perhaps due to the fact the suspension is more lenient than some expected, it is thought Efimova will not appeal the ban.

"[Appealing] requires energy, time, and most importantly, money," she said, according to news agency ITAR-TASS.

"Moreover, I know that I made a mistake.

"The main thing is to start [working] for the World Championships in Kazan and the Olympic Games."