Spanish Swimmer at FINA World Masters Denied Minute of Silence; Takes it Anyway, Then Swims Race

UPDATED 8/21/17 : A different swimmer, who is also competing at FINA Masters World Championships, contacted SwimSwam to inform us that there was, indeed, a period of silence at the start of the Saturday morning session.

Swimming in the final of the men’s 200 breaststroke at 17th FINA Masters World Championships in Budapest on Saturday, Spain’s Fernando Álvarez paid a personal tribute to the victims of Thursday’s terrorist attack that killed at least 14 people and injured dozens more in Barcelona. Álvarez had asked FINA (the International Swimming Federation) to hold a one-minute period of silence before the start of his race, but he told the press that his request was denied.

Álvarez, who swims with the club Natación Cadiz, was entered in the 50, 100 and 200 meter breaststroke events. He told El Español that after he swam the 100 breast on Friday, he asked FINA about a period of silence to honor the victims. But FINA denied his request, saying they couldn’t spare a minute from their timeline (“No se puede perder ni un minute” were his exact words to reporters).

So Álvarez decided to pay the tribute all alone. He stood on the block at the start of his heat of the 200 breast on Saturday morning, and after hearing the signal, he waited 60 seconds before starting his race. All soccer teams in the Spanish La Liga observed a minute of silence before their matches this weekend, and Álvarez thus joined his country’s tribute to the victims of the attacks.

Álvarez’ time was not recorded, but as he explained to El Español, it didn’t matter at all. “I started a minute late. But that doesn’t matter. What I was feeling was more than if I had won all of the gold medals in the world.”

Álvarez still has the 50m breast to swim on Sunday.

SwimSwam has reached out to FINA for comments and will update this story if we receive more information.

Hoy nuestro nadador Máster nadaba la prueba de 200 Braza, tras muchas pesquisas, intentando hicieran un minuto de silencio por el atentado terrorista de Barcelona, en el Mundial Máster que se está celebrando en Budapest, y ante la negativa "no se puede perder un minuto ", Fernando, decidió hacerlo él, en el pollete, en su prueba!!Fernando Álvarez, se queda un minuto en señal de duelo en la salida del 200 Braza!!!El club Natación Cadiz muestra su pesar y rechaza la barbarie del Atentado terrorista en Barcelona

Posted by Club Natacion Cadiz on Saturday, August 19, 2017


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24 Comments on "Spanish Swimmer at FINA World Masters Denied Minute of Silence; Takes it Anyway, Then Swims Race"

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He could have requested a moment of silence to take place NOT during the start of a race.

What happens if swimmers from various countries requesting a minute of silence for tragic, violent deaths in their country during the start of a race in any global swimming championships.

He didn’t request the period of silence just before his race’s kick off, he requested it during the event, anytime, to show respect to the victims from all around the world. The answer from management, “we cannot spare a minute, the schedule is too tight” is shameful. My respect to this guy who stands up for it despite consequences.


That’s actually untrue. There was a moment of silence at the start of the session. Those of us who were there observed it.

A disappointing lack of common sense and common decency from FINA and the meet officials.


I can only speak for one of those pools, the one I swam in. There was a moment of silence at the start of the session. Those of us who were there observed it.

Corinthian Spirit

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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