The American Swim Coaches Association was an early promoter of the International Swim League, hosting its leaders at the 2018 ASCA World Clinic in Anaheim, California, in September.
There, the ISL presented its concept of a professional swimming league with teams competing frequently in competitions across the globe, with a focus on spectator enjoyment and generous athlete compensation. The first of those competitions, dubbed “Energy for Swim,” was scheduled to take place in Italy in December. However, FINA, the aquatic world’s governing body, refused to approve the meet and threatened athletes who planned to attend with 1- to 2-year bans.
Further details of the complex situation are provided in the stories below:
- FINA rule interpretation could outlaw Energy for Swim meet
- Athletes could face 1-to-2-year bans if Energy for Swim isn’t approved
- Law expert’s paper suggests FINA bans won’t hold up legally
- 2018 Energy for Swim meet cancelled after negotiations break down
- ISL Head: We will use all legal means available after Energy for Swim postponement
- FINA memo: Discussions ongoing with Energy Standard & ISL
In response to the situation, ASCA Executive Director John Leonard reaffirmed his organization’s stance in a statement to SwimSwam Tuesday:
“The International Swim League is the best opportunity EVER for elite athletes to earn what they are worth. The ASCA is fully supportive of their efforts and engaged daily with providing assistance to the ISL. Coaches from the earliest days, are in the sport for the athletes, unlike a lot of other organizational structures. The ISL is similarly Athlete Focused, so we are natural allies in providing the best possible opportunities for athletes to become true professionals.”– John Leonard, Executive Director, American Swimming Coaches Association since 1985.
Leonard’s response echoes that of many professional swimmers, including Olympic champion Adam Peaty, who on Wednesday spoke on the sport’s need for professional teams and salaries. Three-time Olympian Cate Campbell agrees: “I can guarantee that just about any athlete in the world would have said that this ISL is a good thing and good opportunity to grow swimming globally but FINA’s worried that it’s going to cut down on their revenue,” she said Tuesday.
SwimSwam has repeatedly reached out to FINA for comment but has yet to receive a response.