At the 2023 Golden Goggles Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles, World Aquatics executive director Brent Nowicki delivered a message to U.S. National Team swimmers.
Nowicki started by calling USA Swimming “one of the most successful swimming programs ever produced” before saying “of course, with that well-earned reputation comes considerable responsibility.”
“All of the National Team members out there, the eyes of the world staring at you when you walk out on that pool deck, my message to you this evening: Please do not underestimate the impact you have, in both actions and words, on our global swimming community,” said Nowicki, who spent eight years at the Court of Arbitration for Sport before taking over as director of World Aquatics in June of 2021. “You are each leaders who will help us guide our sport more than you may ever know.
“And right now, the world needs you more than ever before,” Nowicki continued. “As we’re all seeing, the world is truly a fragile place. Perhaps it’s more fragile now than any one of us can ever remember. At World Aquatics, it is our hope — indeed, it is a core part of our mission — to provide a pool deck where countries can come together and embrace peaceful competition.”
Nowicki’s cryptic comments about the fragility of the world are likely references to Russia’s war in Ukraine as well as the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Last month, the International Olympic Committee suspended the Russian Olympic Committee for absorbing sports organizations in four regions illegally annexed from Ukraine. Meanwhile, World Aquatics moved the last stop of its 2023 Open Water World Cup Series out of Eilat, Israel, amid ongoing fighting in the region, and the Eilat stop of the 2024 Open Water World Cup Series remains “to be confirmed.”