Olympic Champion Peaty: “The ISL Is Where The Sport Needs To Go”

Echoing fellow international swimmer Cate Campbell’s opinion on the FINA/International Swim League (ISL) conflict, World Record holder Adam Peaty of Great Britain gave his candid thoughts on the subject.

Regarding swimming’s current state under FINA rule, 23-year-old Peaty told BBC Sport this week, “It feels like we’re still in 1970. [FINA] need to listen to the athletes and hear what they want instead of saying: ‘You need it this way.’ The whole sport needs to change and that’s something I’m very passionate about.”

Peaty has criticized the FINA-sanctioned World Cup Series in the past, most recently in August when the organization used his image to promote the Series when he hadn’t even entered the event. At the time, the Loughborough athlete responded, “Maybe they need to put them at a time of year when people want to race as well 50/50 SC and LC.”

Flash forward to this week and Peaty communicated that, “The current [World Cup Series] format isn’t working because no-one is watching and 90% of the world’s best athletes don’t turn up because there’s no prestige.

“If you build the prestige around an event, by building up rivalries and promoting the athletes, then people will want to race for gold, not just the money.

It [the ISL] is where the sport needs to go and I think FINA should be behind it,” added Peaty. “Until then it’s going to be a constant battle between FINA and athletes.”

Peaty was among the long list of elite athletes scheduled to race at the Energy for Swim before it was cancelled due to tense negotiations between the Italian Swimming Federation and FINA.

“At the moment we have one major swim per year, but we need more,” said Peaty. “Look at other sports like triathlon, a few years ago they launched their professional World Series where athletes are paid handsomely.

“I’m lucky that I have good sponsors, but not all of the top swimmers get paid what they deserve given the effort they’re putting in.

“We need to have professional teams, salaries, pensions and by doing that and offering money, more kids will come into it thinking ‘I can make a career out of this’ which will only make the sport grow.”

“Obviously there are a lot of politics, but from an athletes’ perspective whether it takes four years or 10 years I think it’s going to happen,” Peaty told BBC Sport.

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He’s right


Peaty on Energy Standard payroll, boycotts World Champs. All hail the Brexit hero of swimming! Let’s get a Theresa May endorsement next.


probably a brexiter too


Reality vs fantasy, which side are you on, sounds like you prefer fantasy land since it “should” be better.


When they couldn’t find anything to remark on, in Peaty’s statement, they decided to take a stab at his character instead.
Someone needs to take their toys away from them, until they learn to play nice. 😉

SUM Ting Wong

Adams home town was very strong Out in Brexit (57%) with 70% turnout . Russians of course made their way up there & joined Derbyans up in their vast campaign to create havoc thru the world . Not content with US 2016 & the subsequent very datisfying Twitter meltdown Russia has now set it’s sights on swimming . Energy Standard is a Russian company led by a Russian citizen .His path to billionaire was harnessing the industrial metallurgy products of his birth region East Ukraine ( USSR ) & selling to Russia . ( read military ) I have been watching this on SWSW & am.surprised no one ( maybe Yozhik) has picked this up Mmm have fun!

SUM Ting Wong

What a twist for the Russia haters on SWSW. !


Yes indeed I have picked up on this. Rich business people are only interested in getting richer and no doubt this could be as bad as FINA. To be honest I’m becoming tired of all sports what with money obsession, corruption, doping etc.

joe bagodonuts

I’m a fan of the sport and enjoy watching competitions, but seems like Adam has the egg before the chicken – “We should have a fully financed profession that could then attract more participants.” Seems like the demand (from a paying spectator perspective) has to be there before the league gets formed, not vice-versa. I just don’t see the larger population demanding more swimming – at any price.


Loretta, (your new young picture suggests that it wouldn’t be that much informal to address you this way). Each article of swimswam about another swimmer signing contract with Energy for Swim ended up with the statement that swimswam is proud partner of Energy Standard Group. What does it mean? Does it put any obligations on swimswam regarding the conflict between ISL and FINA? Does the swimswam have an official position in this matter? And if it is so then what is it? Sometimes I am getting really confused about it.


I agree with you, Swimming is a wonderful sport but I just don’t see it as a popular sport on a regular basis for a wider audience outside of the very dedicated fans. Here in the UK even the major championships struggle to get big TV audiences.


You and a few others have missed the point entirely. Yes, swimming is a minor sport but it would be a whole lot bigger if FINA was up to the job of promoting it properly. The sport desperately needs new ideas, energy and structures.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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