In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman Hodges, Garrett McCaffrey, and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.
Tom Shields has been one of the top performers in the International Swimming League (ISL) since its inception in 2019, and he’s also been at the forefront of leading the athletes in having a voice to ensure they’re treated fairly as professionals.
Shields, who is one of six athlete board members of the International Swimmers’ Alliance (ISA), recently sat down on the SwimSwam Podcast to discuss the realities he’s faced as a pro swimmer, along with the ISL and the issues that the league has faced over the last two years.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist revealed that the ISA currently has a no-walkout clause in the athlete agreements for the ISL, preventing the swimmers from sitting out of competition (AKA “boycotting”). Shields said this was something he was against, but was overruled by the ISA Board.
The no-walkout clause issue stems back to last season when it was revealed that certain swimmers on the London Roar were considering boycotting the ISL playoffs if they weren’t paid in full from Season 2.
While no one ended up sitting out and all payments were reportedly made, the financial viability of the league has constantly been a hot topic due to the ongoing late payments. Shields defended the ISL on the front, claiming that FINA is also consistently late to pay the athletes.
The 30-year-old Shields also spoke about how he had to go on government assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic before earning $200K in prize money once the ISL started up again in late 2020.
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Music: Otis McDonald
Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.