Brent Nowicki, the new FINA Executive Director is young, only 42 years old. He grew up an age group swimmer, a breaststroker, in the United States and played DI lacrosse at Fairfield University before receiving his Juris Doctor degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
When SwimSwam captured this interview Brent had only been on the job eight days. Despite his youthful age, Brent is stepping into the chief executive position with respectable experience across many international federations. He’s the former Managing Counsel at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). I asked around, and leaders I trust in swimming felt he could’ve gone down a few different career paths. They felt we’re lucky to have him. I hope they are correct.
Off camera the message from Brent was clear. Under his leadership swimming, diving, water polo and artistic swimming will experience more transparency, engagement, and communication from FINA, our international governing body. From my experience with FINA that would be a 180 degree turn from the policy of the former executive director, Cornel Marculescu of Romania, who held the position for 35 years.
We obviously captured the interview at U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha. While Brent’s first aquatic trip as ED was to the United States, that was simply because of timing. U.S. Trials was the first big event to see elites and governance in action since he assumed the position. Brent will be on the road a lot this year, seeing aquatic sports federations around world.
The interview came together last minute thanks Dale Neuburger, former FINA Vice President, now FINA Treasurer. I’ve known Dale for many years. He is a tough leader. He lets you know where he stands, and he lets you always know where you stand with him. To Dale’s credit, he headed the search committee that landed Brent, and it’s seem clear Dale’s mission was to find a youthful, energetic executive.
I didn’t grill Brent. He’s too new to the gig, but I had to at least ask Dale about the complicated relationship between FINA and the International Swimming League (ISL). I thought Dale would respond “no comment” for a variety of reasons, but he didn’t flinch, and, in fact, had quite a bit to say. Watch to the end. Dale’s forthcoming and clear on the topic.
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This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com, a Swimming News website.
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.