Canadian Olympic Legend and CEO of Swimming Australia Alex Baumann

In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman HodgesGarrett McCaffrey, and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

When I was a kid my father wanted me to be Alex Baumann. In addition to his dominance in the 200 and 400 IM (winning gold and breaking world records in both events at the 1984 Olympic Games for Canada) Baumann was graceful and gracious. He epitomized the Olympic ideal of sportsmanship.
Baumann has spent his adult life as sport administrator at the high levels from Canada to New Zealand, and, most recently, at the helm of Swimming Australia as their CEO.  He recently stepped down as CEO, a topic he covers candidly in this podcast.
Baumann is as I remember him from the 1980s. We shared the deck at the first Pan Pac Championships in 1987. He’s a nice guy–very easy to build a relationship with.
Baumann’s leadership in sport is covered here, an unpacking of the run-up to Swimming Australia’s success at the 2020 Olympic Games. However, we do dive into his competitive history. Baumann experienced dramatic struggles, most of them off-camera. The fact that he was the Flag Bearer for his nation in 1984 and so successful in the pool is testament to his discipline.  He’s a unique person well-worth your time, and I hope you enjoy this podcast.


Music: Otis McDonald


Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

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Lorinda Bourn
2 years ago

Mel, thank you for your interview with Alex. Nugget: Facing, overcoming adversity is the mark of a champion. Great life lesson!
Lorinda Parkes Bourn
1978 Commonwealth, World Championship team, Canada

M Palota
2 years ago

Best swim I ever saw when I was actually in the pool was Alex leading off the men’s 4×100 free relay at the ’83 Winter Nationals.

We were in the lane beside them. I was second and our lead-off knew Alex from their mutual time on the National Team. Standing behind the blocks and Alex asks our guy what the World Record was for SCM 100 ‘free. It was 48-something.

Alex leads off and takes the 1st 50 out in 24-flat. He’s 3rd, if I remember. Comes out of the 2nd turn and lifts off! Halfway down the 3rd 25, he’s half a body length ahead. Comes back in 24.4(!) for a final time of 48.4!


Bo Swims
2 years ago

Own the podium had Canada take the most gold medals in Winter games history in 2010.

Bo Swims
2 years ago

Great documentary about Alex & Victor in 1982. Worlds & Commonwealth Games.

2 years ago

Great that he sat for this interview, but it left me with the following questions I wish had been posed to Mr. Baumann:

  1. How do you define “high performance” methods, which you say “are not rocket science”? What do you mean when you say that with “high performance” you have to be willing to “push” “limits” and “boundaries”? Do you have a “win at all costs” attitude towards competition?
  2. What is your view on the allegations that have been made by elite swimmers about “weighing and weight-shaming”, eating disorders, and other abuse/harassment of Australian swimmers that have led to the formation of an “independent” Commission in Australia to examine such allegations? If you had remained in your post, what
… Read more »

Coach Mike 1952
2 years ago

Love this Mel, great guy, great interview! Very enjoyable & informative. Thanks!

Last edited 2 years ago by Coach Mike 1952

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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