Swimming Australia Faces Possible Expulsion From World Aquatics Due To Compliance Issues

Swimming Australia could face removal of its membership within World Aquatics due to multiple compliance issues, a source close to the situation told to SwimSwam.

Swimming Australia is in violation of multiple points within the World Aquatics Constitution, including a lack of athlete voting power on the Board, and the implementation of a Stabilization Committee, and even the expulsion of Swimming Australia’s membership within World Aquatics, would be the consequences if changes aren’t made in a timely manner.

According to the source, Swimming Australia “has a void” in the role of its athletes in decision-making positions (with a vote). The World Aquatics Constitution dictates that all 20 members of a national governing body’s Athletes Committee have one vote in Congress (Article 13.7).

Swimming Australia also fails to recognize Matthew Dunn, a three-time Olympian and multi-time short course world champion, as an ex-officio member with a voting right in their Board and at the General Assembly, the source said, which is also in violation of the World Aquatics Consitution (Article 17.2).

World Aquatics also raised concerns regarding a potential conflict of interest with two of Swimming Australia’s commercial partners, the Australian Swimmers’ Association and the Swim Coaches and Teachers Association, who are voting members of Swimming Australia.

World Aquatics has recommended that Swimming Australia broaden its membership to make it more representative and inclusive of athletes, per the source.

Swimming Australia is expected to announce Thursday that they’re calling a Special General Meeting where its members will vote on adopting a new constitution that will put them in line with the World Aquatics Consitution.

World Aquatics Constitution Article 7 (f):

to recognise in their constitution that (i) World Aquatics is the only recognized body in the world which governs Aquatics on a worldwide basis and (ii) in the case of inconsistency between the Member’s constitution and/or rules and this Constitution and/or World Aquatics Rules, the latter shall prevail;

The General Meeting is expected to occur on October 20, which would put Swimming Australia in line with the World Aquatics Constitution within the 90-day window the global governing body reportedly provided earlier this month.

If Swimming Australia’s members don’t vote on adopting the new constitution, its swimmers could potentially have to compete under a neutral flag, which was the case for both the Philippines and Kenya at the most recent World Championships, though the expectation is that the new constitution will be adopted in October.

Reports of Swimming Australia having compliance issues come on the heels of an incredibly high turnover in leadership within the organization, with Eugenie Buckley having stepped down as CEO after just 18 months earlier this year, while Leigh Russell and Alex Baumann have also served in the role since Mark Anderson stepped down in 2017.

Additionally, last November, Tracy Stockwell was removed as President of Swimming Australia after just nine months, with Michelle Gallen taking over.

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6 months ago

So much reporting on something that will be resolved shortly.

David S
6 months ago

I trust Swimming Australia more than I do WA

6 months ago
Reply to  nuotofan
6 months ago

I gave a news (and Swimswam wrote an article) and received a downvote: this section is fantastic!

6 months ago

World Aquatics needs to mandate from the Board of Swimming Australia the public release of a full, unredacted version of the report of the Independent Commission that interviewed more than 150 witnesses in 2021 regarding the culture and activities of Swimming Australia, and which issued 45 recommendations for needed change. The Independent Commission, based on participants’ waivers, gave the go-ahead to SA for full release of the report, but that was rejected by SA’s Board or management which simply issued a callow apology to swimmers and has effectively failed to implement any recommended changes. Until then, it would appear that SA is covering up something fairly significant that could be even more important than the compliance issues mentioned here.

The Original Tim
6 months ago

Pretty rich coming from WA.

“Breaking news at 11: Corrupt, endlessly bureaucratic organization makes bureaucratic demands of member organization.”

Based just on what I’ve read here on SwimSwam, Swimming Australia is indeed a dumpster fire that needs reforming, but it’s rich that WA is the one saying it.

Chadius Daddus
6 months ago

Beurocracy sucks. Not surprised they can’t get it right. Who can?

Reply to  Chadius Daddus
6 months ago

Bureaucracy sucks too

6 months ago

This thing will blow over. But Swimming Australia has always been a bit shambolic in the way it governs itself. I know this is only a minor point, but the SA website is mediocre. It’s just one example of the huge disconnect between the ability of Australia’s swimmers and the performance of its administrators.

Awsi Dooger
6 months ago

This is roughly the same level of favoritism as 11 women swimming under 15 minutes in the 1500 in Paris

Reply to  Awsi Dooger
6 months ago

You are making less and less sense.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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