What’s Next for Belarusian Swimming

When FINA banned Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from World Championships, the Secretary General of the Belarusian Swimming Federation, Sergei Vladislavovich Kozhempo, promised in a statement to do “everything possible to create all the necessary conditions for the continued training of [their] athletes.” 

The federation’s main goal is to provide motivation for training, opportunities to compete, and to not lose personnel. However, athletes are already beginning to find alternatives. Olga Yasianovich, coach of Belarusian phenom Anastasiya Shkurdai, told SwimSwam last week that they are working on moving to the U.S to train. 

Now, the Belarusian federation’s plans are beginning to take shape. Ella Selitskaya, the Chairwoman of the federation, spoke to STV about what’s next for Belarusian swimming. 

The federation has devised a plan to hold an international tournament of their own this summer, open to Belarusian, Russian, and Asian swimmers. Organizers of the meet hope to have a prize fund, though they are still looking for a money source.  

Selitskaya mentioned that Asian athletes would be invited to the meet through their national swimming federation. She did not provide details on which countries they had invited. Given that they’re planning to hold this meet around the same time as the World Championships, it’s also not clear how many Asian athletes they realistically expect to attend. 

Russian national team coach Sergei Chepik and Vladimir Salnikov, President of the Russian Swimming Federation, previously brought up these plans. However, neither mentioned that the meet would be open to swimmers besides Russian and Belarusian nationals. 

To compete at this meet, swimmers still need to hit the qualifying times for World Championships and European Championships. Juniors are eligible to compete if they had qualified for World Juniors or the European Youth Olympic Festival. She noted that they had about 20 junior athletes who already met these standards.

Selitskaya highlighted the connection between the Belarusian Swimming Federation and the Russian federation, saying they will determine what competitions they can hold within their own borders to “create competition between [their] athletes and attract athletes from other countries.” 

She also said they submitted proposals to participate in the Asian Games, which take place November 2023 in the Philippines. 

When asked if Belarus would swim in Paris at the 2024 Olympics, Selitskaya responded “yes, definitely.” 

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7 months ago

Be sure to invite North Korea and Syria!

Reply to  LUIGI
7 months ago

Eritrea as well

Coach Mike
7 months ago

Unsurprisingly it seems that FINA have suspended the Russian and Belarusian swimmers and coaches, but not the bureaucrats? According to the FINA website Salnikov and Khazhempa still hold their FINA positions

7 months ago

Ban them. And Russia.

7 months ago

Sure, definitely, why not? Has anything happened?

7 months ago

i’m going to be really pissed off if ROC has any presence in Paris

7 months ago

“International” is truly a very loosely defined term in this case.

7 months ago

a ban on all sports for the next 10 years. They don’t exist as a country in our eyes

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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