The Mexican Swimming Federation has failed to follow through on promises of a public apology and on financial reparations to a former synchronized swimmer who says she was mistreated by the federation.
The rift between the Mexican Swimming Federation (FMN) and Ana Karen Mendoza has been ongoing for eight years, according to a story published in Proceso magazine earlier this month. Mendoza was a high-level synchronized swimmer as a teenager, but she says that between 2009 and 2011, the federation unfairly excluded her from the national team and kicked her out of a high performance center, effectively ending her career.
Mendoza says that the federation did not respect its own selection procedures in selecting the national team for 2009-2010, leaving then-16-year-old Mendoza off the team in favor of four senior-level athletes who couldn’t be part of the junior national team instead. Mendoza’s mother says that she met with a federation official who told her that they “could not lose what they had invested in the swimmers,” (in a translation of the originally-Spanish Proceso piece).
The federation also kept Mendoza out of solo competition at the 2010 World Junior Championships. When her mother questioned that decision, federation official Vila Islas said Mendoza was “fat and of low height,” according to Mendoza’s mother in the Proceso story.
Then for the 2010-2011 season, Mendoza once again qualified for the top national team, but the coaching staff left her off the roster for the 2011 World Championships based on “verbal evaluations.”
And after the Pan American Games in 2011, Mendoza says she was tossed out of CNAR, a national high performance talent development center where she had trained since 2007. Mendoza says she tried to continue training at the Club Atlas Chapalita, but that the federation denied her membership to the sport discipline as a whole.
Mendoza’s mother brought 11 lawsuits against FMN President Kiril Todorov over 8 years, and the Proceso piece says that Todorov didn’t answer any of them. He did, however, sign an agreement with Mendoza in 2016 to make reparations for her career. According to Proceso, the agreement included a public apology for unjustifiably excluding her from the national team, along with 40,000 pesos in financial reparations. The apology was to take a quarter-page of a newspaper with national circulation and appear on the federation’s website. The Proceso piece also says that the agreement included a penalty payment if the terms were not carried out: 1 million pesos in payment.
Now, Mendoza and her mother say the terms of that agreement were never fulfilled, and are seeking payment from the federation more than a year after they say the agreement was signed. We’ve reached out to the federation for comment but have not yet received a reply.