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.”