SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers how many athletes they think would have attended Energy for Swim had the meet not been canceled:
Question: How many of the 51 signed athletes would have attended Energy for Swim if 2-year bans were a possibility?
- None – 19.2%
- Only a few (1-5) – 12.2%
- Some (6-25) – 23.0%
- Most (26-50) – 33.1%
- All 51 – 12.5%
45% of voters thought that the majority of signed athletes would have attended Energy for Swim 2018 if the meet hadn’t been canceled, even if two-year bans were still a potential sanction. 33% expected between 26 and 50 of the signed athletes to attend, while another 12.5% expected all 51 to compete.
The Energy for Swim 2018 event was billed as a spectator-focused meet that would richly compensate athlete participants, including guaranteed appearance fees. The event was technically hosted by the Italian swimming federation, but was in large part a repackaged version of the format designed by the International Swimming League (ISL), an organization that has publicly envisioned a series of similar spectator-friendly, big-money events. FINA, the international governing body for swimming, has publicly opposed the ISL and made clear it did not authorize or recognize the Energy for Swim 2018 event, meaning athletes who participated could be hit with bans of 1 or 2 years.
Energy for Swim meet organizers ultimately canceled the meet when a compromise with FINA couldn’t be reached. But there was buzz that some athletes would compete at the meet despite the potential bans. We won’t know for sure how many of the 51 contracted athletes ultimately would have competed, but voters in our poll were bullish on plenty of athletes risking bans to compete.
There’s almost certainly some wishful thinking going on there. While the ISL is still in its infancy, it has been markedly more popular than FINA among commenters during the scuffle. A third of voters said they expected more than half of the 51 contracted athletes to compete, while 12.5% said all 51 would have competed.
On the other hand, 19.2% said all 51 would have backed out if bans were on the table. Quite a number of athletes signed their contracts after the dispute became public and the threat of suspensions was apparent. That could suggest those athletes were willing to compete regardless of the risk. But it’s also very possible that athletes were signing the contracts merely to get in on the meet organizers public promise to pay 50% of appearance fees to contracted athletes even if the meet was canceled.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters what the best approach is for college programs at mid-season:
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The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner