Friday, August 31 in Washington D.C., the World Swimming Association held a constitutional convention at the 2017 ASCA World Clinic. Coaches, officials, and swimming professionals sat in a room for 5 hours, hashing out the article of the constitution and bylaws, finally coming to an agreement of what the WSA will stand for.
The World Swimming Association, or WSA, is presenting itself as an international governing body – an alternate to FINA. FINA has been pummeled with criticism by swimming powerbrokers around the world for their handling of doping violations, corruption, questionable leadership from non-swimming nations, and for failing to provide more financial support for athletes, among other chargers.
If the WSA does in fact gain traction, it will also mean the launch of the Professional Swimmers Association, or the PSA. The PSA strives to be an outlet to earn more financial benefits (49% of WSA revenue) for the events they attend and promote by their collective presence. The PSA is also announcing in the near future a pro meet series called the Ring of Fire. The meets in the Ring of Fire will take place 1 month apart, and will occur in the Pacific Rim – and stand as WSA’s alternative for the FINA World Cup.
I think everyone agrees the rreason FINA has such poor governance is because the major swimming nations have not used their clout. USA Swimming thinks it’s doing a great job because it is and has been by far the world’s number one swimming nation for many years. Swimming Australia thinks it’s doing a great job because it is the world’s number two(although this is now very much debateable) and punches above it’s weight etc. They are all inward-focused in other words. Meanwhile the sport of swimming globally becomes more and more a tiny sport because the people who run FINA are self-interested, corrupt and incompetent e.g. very few people with real ability hold the top positions, no financial transparency, weak… Read more »
Fair description re USA Swimming but your read on Swimming AUS is actually somewhat out-dated (not only with regards to its place in the competitive hierarchy). Whilst it most certainly became extremely complacent, it is now experiencing many of the same pressures facing many other “first world” nations.
Firstly, the expense of maintaining a competitive swimmer is such that it is no longer a “sport of the people” but rather one where only those from more affluent demographics can stay in the sport ….. thus you are drawing from an ever contracting potential talent pool esp in a country of population 25mill (just). Whilst this trend has been evident for nigh 15 years, its only now that it is… Read more »
Anyone know where is the 2018 ASCA World Clinic?
I love the action being taken, but the truth is, you need to get the federations of individual countries to denounce FINA and except the WSA. Only then will they truly be legitimate, but good luck with that. FINAs corruption is the result of the corruption of the national federations themselves. It would take a massive undertaking to fix this and frankly, it’s not possible. It’s up to the swimmers union to boycott all FINA events, and while unlikely, it’s more likely than the former.
Not necessarily the corruption of the national federations (although there is undeniably some) but rather that many are more concentrated on an existential battle for financial survival (yes, even strong countries !) that FINA itself is far less of an issue to them except when any particular issue has direct impacts on themselves. Many here only know of US Swimming but its situation is basically unique; the situation most elsewhere is very very different as regards funding/infrastructure of the sport. IF they or others are ever going to move then they will form their own body, NOT accept Messrs Leonard & Block’s little non-starter.
You speak of a Swimmers Union; whilst it WOULD be beneficial if such an entity… Read more »
It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and poke fun at the WSA for being lightweight but something has to be done to take the sport of swimming out of the hands of FINA. A new 25 member FINA Bureau was recently elected – the equivalent of the board of directors of a corporation and it’s stunning that it is dominated by nations which have virtually a nil presence in global swimming e.g. Uganda, Fiji, Angola, Senegal etc. In fact, a majority of FINA Bureau members come from countries which did not have a single semi-finalist at the recent World Championships! These people have never run anything of any significance in their own countires. They have no record of achievement.… Read more »
These peripheral nations get these positions due to their “pliability” at the hands of key long term officeholders of FINA and whilst its a great ride on the gravy train, they really exert little power. Why is this so ? Partly as somewhat of a back-lash against the domination of the sport in the past by “first world” nations. However, the main reason that many “major nations” are less sighted in FINA positions these days is the fact that FINA itself is far less of a priority to these federations than their own survival as both public sector funding dries up and corporate $$$ prove elusive ,,,, and transient when found. The latter is not unique to swimming but very… Read more »
Coleman you belong in front of the camera!
Good intentions…but castles in the sky.
So what’s the alternative? At least they are trying to do something.
Try to change things from inside, for example…
You are not going to see action until (1) IOC threatens exclusion from Olympics unless major overhaul is underaken and/or (2) the major institutional investors in the sport (equipment manufacturers/timing etc) make similar threats of cutting off the $$$$ stream.
Jorge IS correct in the sense that it will be easier to work with an existing structure if at all possible rather than trying to build something new from ground up. Whether that is viable … unknown.
What is certain that any reformed FINA or new governing body will need to have the backing and major inputs from the major players in the sport, be they the national federations of the broad cross-section of major nations (not just Anglosphere or… Read more »
Your last question is lethal.
Ah, Messrs Leonard and Block; as that grand old Texan saying goes “All hat, no cattle !”. Whilst I do not doubt the sincerity of their intentions; their emanations are basically akin to making heroic speeches to oneself in the bathroom mirror.
Two things need to happen in order for a new governing body for the sport to come to fruition. One is a clear vote of “no confidence” in FINA from the IOC and WADA which would then see a massive threat of disinvestment from “institutional investors” (equipment manufacturers/timing). The second would be a major tranche of major swimming nations disaffiliating and with the backing of the institutional investors acting to create a new body. The key issue… Read more »
They want clean sport which all agree but all knows that WADA is the one in charge on this issue what they want to do ? Are they going to creat another Anti Doping Agency? Moreover they are taking about Pro-Swiimer which will lead for sure full control by the Swimmers sponsors which are the company that means money talks!! Please stop the nonsense be logic