Olympic champion and world record holder Adam Peaty will not race in the inaugural FINA Champions Series, the British star announced Wednesday on Twitter, citing his focus on the 2019 FINA World Championships.
“I have decided not to participate in FINA‘s new Champion Series due to focussing my preparation on the World Championships and beyond,” he wrote. “However, it’s definitely a step in the right direction for the sport.”
I have decided not to participate in FINA’s new Champion Series due to focussing my preparation on the World Championships and beyond. However, it’s definitely a step in the right direction for the sport. pic.twitter.com/YKiJXCiOgY
— Adam Peaty MBE (@adam_peaty) February 13, 2019
The three-meet series will take place in Guangzhou on April 27-28, Budapest on May 11-12, and Indianapolis on May 31 – June 1, requiring significant travel.
Peaty, 24, has long been a staunch critic of swimming’s international governing body. His public feud began last summer when FINA used his image on promotional materials for the 2018 World Cup series, and implied he would attend, and Peaty called-out the organization. At the time he criticized the series, he wrote that “Maybe they need to put [the World Cup stops] at a time of year when people want to race, as well as 50/50 SC and LC (questioning emoji inserted).”
Then, in November, after FINA ruled the International Swimming League’s later-canceled Energy for Swim meet was an international meet and that the Italian federation couldn’t sanction it, Peaty signed a contract to compete – despite second-hand threats of suspension from the sport.
After signing that contract, he took a bold shot at FINA, telling the BCC: “I don’t care, ban me if you’ve got to,” and “I’m not bothered because at the end of the day they know they can’t.”
He added: “They can’t get away with it because you’ll lose all of the respect from the athletes and you can’t bully them.”
Peaty also called FINA‘s introduction of the Champions Series as an alternative to the similarly-structured ISL “embarrassing and offensive.”
Despite the Series being set to award the most prize money in FINA history, Peaty believes it’s not enough. “£4m in prize money is nothing in terms of what they’ll make off that league – they’ll make much more,” he said in the BBC report. “We need transparency and 50-50 split of the profits.”
Thus far, some other central faces of the anti-FINA movement have committed to race the series. Those who are confirmed to swim one or more stops of the series include Michael Andrew, currently suing FINA, as well as Sarah Sjostrom.