FINA has announced the list of 29 candidates representing all six FINA continents who are running for election to the FINA Athletes’ Committee.
Elections will take place during the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships that run from June 18 to July 3, 2022 in Budapest, Hungary. All athletes who are competing at the World Championships are eligible to vote.
The electronic voting period for swimmers will run from June 16-25. The voting period for the four other disciplines featured in Budapest will run from June 16-28.
With the event discipline of high diving not on the 19th FINA World Championships competition schedule, the election for high diving athletes will take place with mail-in balloting. Every high diving athlete that competed in the 18th FINA World Championships in 2019 may vote for their high diving athlete representative during the 2022 election.
The elected athletes will be announced on June 29.
Ultimately, 20 athletes will be elected to the FINA Athletes’ Committee by their peers, an additional six will be appointed by the FINA President, six more Honorary Members will also be appointed by the FINA President, and the two aquatic athletes who are members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Daniel Gyurta (Hungary) and Federica Pellegrini (Italy) will also be on the committee. That means a total of 34 athletes will be on the FINA Athletes’ Committee.
At least one member of the Committee must come from each of FINA’s 6 regions. Some members are running unopposed. The committee makeup is as follows:
- Ten (10) Swimming athletes, including one male athlete and one female athlete from each
- Two (2) Open Water Swimming athletes, including one male athlete and one female athlete;
- Two (2) Diving athletes, including one male athlete and one female athlete;
- Two (2) High Diving athletes, including one male athlete and one female athlete;
- Two (2) Artistic Swimming athletes, including one male athlete and one female athlete; and
- Two (2) Water Polo athletes, including one male athlete and one female athlete.
This means that Shane Ryan, Dmitriy Balandin, Jessica Hansen, Ryan Pini, Lunkuse Jamila Nsimbambi, Matthew Sates, and Alita Atkinson will be selected automatically. So too will Greek water polo player Margarita Plevritou, the only female nominee from her discipline. The two synchronized swimming (artistic swimming) nominees Saafan Nehal and Bill May are also running unopposed, as is open water swimmer Ferry Weertman and high divers Anna Bader and Alain Kohl.
That means only 7 of the 20 spots on the athletes’ portion of the elected committee will have votes that impact the outcome.
The committee members appointed by the FINA President will include 1 athlete from each aquatics discipline, an equal number of male and female athletes, and “respect for geographic diversity.”
To be eligible for the Athletes’ Committee, an athlete must have competed at the 2017, 2019, or 2022 World Championships, or the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Athletes do not have to be active athletes, though if they don’t compete at the 2022 World Championships, they cannot vote (for themselves or anyone else).
Athletes must be 18 as of the opening day of voting, able to work effectively in French or English, and not have incurred any sanctions for violation of FINA rules.
Each FINA member can submit up to one candidate across all disciplines.
The current FINA Athletes’ Committee has 16 members, chaired by Penny Heyns. The major change this year is that the athletes’ representatives will be elected directly by the athletes rather than by bureaucrats. That move was supported by Heyns.
The other result of the eligibility guidelines is that the commission’s members will be much closer to their competitive careers. By definition, an athlete eligible for the commission could have been retired from competitive sport for no more than 5 years. By comparison, Heyns has been retired for 22 years.
Role of the Athlete Commission
The Chair of the committee will be an ex-officio member of the FINA Bureau to communicate athlete perspectives on different matters, including to technical committees regarding rules and to bring input of athletes to the organization of the World Championships.
The list includes a number of very high-profile active and recently-retired candidates.
That includes 8 Olympic gold medalist:
- Katinka Hosszu (Hungary), Dmitriy Balandin (Kazakhstan), Jack Laugher (Great Britain), Shi Tingmao (China), Filip Filipovic (Serbia), Josip Pavic (Croatia), Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil), Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
And two others who have won Olympic silver medals:
Only one nominee, Bill May of the United States, was never eligible for Olympic participation. Men’s synchronized swimming isn’t offered at the Olympic Games, though he won the 2015 World Championship, among three other World Championship medals, in mixed duet competition.
Three of the nominees from swimming are expected to contend for medals: 33-year old Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, 24-year old Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong, and 18-year old Matt Sates of South Africa. Sates won an NCAA title in the 500 free in March after just a few month at the University of Georgia, and then withdrew to return home to South Africa and turn pro.
The most-decorated nominee is Shi Tingmao. The 30-year old Chinese diver has 4 Olympic gold medals and 8 World Championship gold medals. She was named Best Female Diver of the Year by FINA for five consecutive years from 2015 through 2019, and again in 2021 (no 2020 awards were given).
List of Candidate Athletes
|Europe||Therese Alshammar (SWE)
Katinka Hosszu (HUN)
|Shane Ryan (IRL)|
|Asia||Nada Arakji (QAT)
Siobhan Haughey (HKG)
|Dmitriy Balandin (KAZ)|
|Oceania||Jessica Hansen (AUS)||Ryan Pini (PNG)|
|Africa||Lunkuse Jamila Nsibambi (UGA)||Matthew Sates (RSA)|
|Americas||Alia Atkinson (JAM)||Dylan Carter (TTO)
Jordy Groters (ARU)
|Maria Polyakova (RUS)
Tingmao Shi (CHN)
|Jack Laugher (GBR)
Rommel Pacheco Marrufo (MEX)
|Margarita Plevritou (GRE)||Felipe Filipovic (SRB)
Josip Pavic (CRO)
Felipe Perrone Rocha (ESP)
Robin Randall (CAN)
|Saafan Nehal (EGY)||Bill May (USA)|
|Ana Marcela Cunha (BRA)
Caroline Jouisse (FRA)
|Ferry Weertman (NED)|
|Anna Bader (GER)||Alain Kohl (LUX)|