Australian Olympic champion Cate Campbell has given some choice words in regards to FINA at a press conference in Budapest, according to SwimVortex. Though she’s not racing in Budapest at the 2017 World Championships, Campbell is aiming for a comeback next summer, and her opinions on FINA reflect the same sentiment from many world-class swimmers that we’ve seen of late.
“I think the fact that they haven’t ever requested an athlete’s opinion on anything,” said Campbell, when asked what her biggest concern is about the international governing body for swimming. She reminds everyone, though, that “we [the swimmers] are essentially FINA’s assets. Without us there is no FINA and I think sometimes that can be forgotten.”
“We are linked to FINA; we are part of FINA and FINA can use us to promote things, so I feel like we should be able to have a say in how they are governing and who governs it and which issues are being raised and which issues are being dealt with.” This is similar to the premise upon which Katinka Hosszu‘s open letter to start an international pro swimming union lies, and an opinion that has echoed across the swimming world recently.
Campbell’s time on the Athletes’ Commission of the Australian Olympic Committee has helped her see everything at play in such a sizable administration. “There are so many cogs spinning and people pulling in different directions that athletes do just get lost because it does become about making money as opposed to swimming. I feel like that’s a fundamental part of their constitution that they’ve forgotten.”
Campbell, who joined Hosszu’s Global Association of Professional Swimmers (GAPS) along with recent World Champions Adam Peaty, Ben Proud, and Sarah Sjöström, does think more can be done than outlined in Hosszu’s June letter. Still, she wants to focus on those details later. “There is a lot more to flesh out in terms of what we would like but for me I joined because athletes should have a say in organisations. Too often they are run by people who are out of touch with the sport or have their own side games to be made from it. For me it was about supporting athletes having a voice and we can work out the details after the [World] championships.”
When asked about the recent Olympic event additions, Campbell was far more supportive of the 50s of strokes (which were not added) over the distance events (which were).
“I don’t agree with the fact that they are Olympic events. Obviously I support the athletes who are in them 100% but you’re putting a huge burden on the distance swimmers. That is a huge mileage they’re having to swim. They will be swimming kilometres at race pace… In terms of spectators, 50s are fun. They are races people can relate to. Pretty much everyone has swum 50 metres at some stage in their lives and can say ‘oh, look, they swam 10sec faster than me …’ Most people will never have time to swim a 1500 in their lives. From a viewing spectatorship I don’t think it was a clever move.”