Controversy struck the 2016 European Masters Championships, as an open letter yesterday was published directed towards British Swimming CEO David Sparkes. The meet ran from May 25th to the 29th.
The letter, which you can read in full here, criticized the lack of limitations on meet entries. There were allegedly far too many swimmers entered in a meet that simply wouldn’t be able to host such a large amount of athletes. Thus, many swimmers entered the meet and invested time and money to get there and compete only to be told far too late that the meet was overbooked. According to the letter, entries to the meet were given out on a first come, first served basis only four days prior to the beginning of the meet.
“The resulting debacle and the ensuing scramble to shoe horn as many people as possible into the event, led to administrative chaos and completely avoidable strain on both competitors and the people delivering the event.”
The author of the letter, Verity Dobbie, concludes her letter suggesting there might be a new federation established to run affairs for masters swimming.
Sparkes responded to Dobbie, saying that he had “received numerous positive comments from Masters Swimmers who participated in London from around Europe and expressing how appreciative they are with the opportunity to swim in London in the Aquatic Centre.”
In his response, he also said that “we all agree there were challenges and we all also agree that the Organising Committee did a great job. There are of course lessons to learn as there are from every major event and both LEN and British Swimming will take these on board in due course.”
Simon Rothwell, LEN Masters Chairman, also gave a reply to Dobbie’s letter. He echoed that there were issues regarding the entries, saying “you are right that at the beginning of the week the challenge was extremely difficult to manage but by working together things did improve. Not something any of us would want to repeat though.”
Neither Sparkes nor Rothwell proposed any explicit changes or further actions that would take place following their responses.