Adam Peaty Weighs In On Potential Swimmer Union, FINA

After Katinka Hosszu put out an open letter to the swim community this morning calling upon swimmers to unionize, British breaststroke star and fellow 2016 Olympic gold medalist Adam Peaty shared his views with us.

Hosszu’s letter addressed the current dysfunction in FINA, and how they are stunting the growth of the sport as it seeks to evolve out of it’s amateur status. She mainly took issue with the recent rule changes to the World Cup events, where swimmers will be restricted to a maximum of four events per meet and certain accomplished athletes will be permitted to advance straight to finals, among other changes.

Peaty’s view stems from his belief that the interests of the swimmers, coaches and fans should be put at the top of FINA‘s priority list, and not what they believe earns them money. He believes that the swimmers should be rewarded for what they do, not limited by their governing body, and that everyone should have equal opportunity.

“If you go by the means of a union which showed professional athletes at the top of the game then yes,” Peaty says. “I think athletes should be rewarded for what they do and not limited by their governing body (FINA in this case). Everyone should have the same opportunity and no handicaps handed out (making straight finals at FINA World Cups).”

Along with the fact that the best interests of the swimmers and coaches aren’t being taken into account, they’re also not seeing any reasoning for these decisions being made by FINA.

“I think the issue is that the athletes and coaches aren’t being involved in what decisions FINA are making and there is no transparency of why they are making the decisions,” he says.

Peaty also mentions that the swimmers as a whole have to want a union, not just Hosszu. He recognizes that there will likely never be 100% agreement, but an open vote among swimmers would be a good place to start.

“To have a union, they have got to put athletes, coaches and fans interests at the top of their agenda and not just what they ‘think’ is best or what brings the money in for them,” Peaty said. “This also applies that just because one athlete wants it, doesn’t mean everyone wants it; you will most likely never get a 100% vote but to start with an open vote would be a great start.”

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Tom from Chicago
5 years ago

+1 for Peaty and Hosszu.

I love watching Hosszu swim her incredible Iron Lady swims. These are truly incredible performances, then FINA makes a rule that only affects her. What nonsense.

We need to have the athletes have a greater say in the governing board. They should be able to veto nonsense like this. Politicians let the Russian dopers, like 2x drug cheat Efimova, into the Olympics.

This straight to finals handicap needs to be abolished immediately. Maybe FINA has outlived its usefulness. Maybe some of the national directors can come up with an alternative governing body.

5 years ago

Never liked unions, like Utopia, the intent is noble but then you are just creating another level of burocracy. That means, swimmers around the world will HAVE to paid a “Union Dues”? What happens then? Need to get a Union Representative? How and who will be present at the bargaining table. It will become a whole new layer of paid reps lawyers accountants front desk people etc. What happens to the regular swimmer at the local LSC, local federation, will they enforce to contribute Union dues? FINA certainly is fighting their own demons within. The power of decision has to go back to the local level of swimmers and coaches. A new governing entity might be the ripe for it’s… Read more »

5 years ago

About time FINA allows swimmers to earn some decent money. I understand just like athletics, there is no money in this sport due to no advertising appeal. Hours spent training is just wasted life for most of them including the guardians/ parents or friends. I support Peaty and Hosszu contention.

FINA’s probably filled with management whose thinking is prehistoric.

Swimmer A
5 years ago

I think FINA’s world cup decision definitely felt like it had some sexist undertones. Here you have this phenom swimmer Katinka lighting it up and making bank at the world cup events and FINA goes and changes the rules so she can’t earn as much. And without much of a justification from them you can’t help but think these rules were targeted at her. It’s like FINA couldn’t take seeing the success of a female swimmer, so they changed the game to knock her down a peg. I’m not even a Katinka fan, but nothing about this seems right.

Reply to  Swimmer A
5 years ago

Come on. FINA came up with this World Cup business model and tried to promote it as much as they could as it should happen to any business undertaking. For years Hosszu was FINA’s golden child that was expected to help to raise the attractiveness of this Cup by making big money. She was the most suitable choice because she could travel from meet to meet without having problems bringing with her supporting team, without interrupting the coaching process, without being taken away from family.
This World Cup as a business hasn’t worked as expected from somebody’s interest point of view. They will try something different that may happen to be not good either. But there is no need… Read more »

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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