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.
I appreciate the fact that Mel conducted this interview, and more specifically that he asked Dale the question on ISL. However, FINA must do a better job on two issues; doping and ensuring professional swimmers have better opportunities to make the money they deserve to extend their careers. Quite frankly, FINA is pretty corrupt and has proven itself to be inept in the effort to crack down on cheaters. If you are a fan of swimming, I would recommend you read the Outside magazine article, :The plot to kill the Olympics” (link below). Read Part 3 of the article…here’s a little snippet…”
So it is with FINA. In 2013–16, it earned $200 million and paid none of it to… Read more »
I think the biggest change that needs to be made is that for world championship meets they should do away with the whole entry by nation thing. Just let the top 25 in the world in every event directly enter the meet on their own. Then we also need a conversation about revenue sharing with the swimmers.
Nice interview Melvin!
What did Director Nowicki say when you asked him about FINA revoking the ridiculous “Lochte Rule?”
Dude on the left looks like Dave portnoys lost brother
“Everyone knows the rules”
good interview with brent. I don’t know anything, but I hope the next few years they have their eyes on what the ISL is doing and try to make their own professional opportunities more entertaining to draw an audience. it doesn’t have to be as “gimicky” as the ISL (I love the ISL so that is not meant in a deragatory way), but the reference to tennis at the end is a good one, and I think that’s a model FINA could learn from.
If it takes money out of Dale Neuberger’s pocket and the vast web of self interests he serves, it will never happen.
Surprising you feel this way knowing Ale is a big IU and Ray fan too
Dale is a big IU supporter. However and IMO, his involvement in swimming should have ended the very minute Fran Crippen’s lifeless body was discovered at the bottom of the ocean.
Now that we have an American in charge of FINA and not some collusive European, will FINA finally push the IOC to strip the doped-up East German women of their international swimming medals, especially Olympic medals, from 1975 through 1988?
I miss Devon Nowicki’s dancing
What happened to him???