FINA announced on September 19th that Member of the FINA Technical Swimming Committee, Ivan Varvodic, has died.
Varvodic was appointed to his role in 2017 after many years playing both a major role in the behind-the-scenes aspects of swimming in Croatia and as a past LEN bureau member. He started out as a director of the Croatian Swimming Federation before serving 15 years as president from 1992-2007.
During his time as president there were several standout Croatian swimmers who broke out onto the international scene. Gordan Kožulj first medalled internationally at the 1999 European Games. He went on to win two long-course gold medals at the European Games in the 200m backstroke (2000, 2002) and a silver medal in the same event at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona.
Marko Stahija finished third to Kožulj’s silver in the 200m backstroke at the 2002 European Championships, putting two Croatians on the podium. He also won a silver medal in the 200m backstroke at the 2002 Short Course World Championships.
At the 2004 Olympic Games Duja Draganja finished second in the men’s 50m freestyle behind Gary Hall Jr. to claim Croatia’s first ever swimming Olympic medal as an independent nation. He also won a silver at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal and a bronze at the 2006 European Championships while Varvodic was president.
In FINA’s statement they wrote: “In this moment of grief, the FINA family addresses its heartfelt condolences to Mr Varvodic’s family and friends, as well as to the entire Swimming community in Croatia.”