Coaches & More Salute The Dawn Of The WSA & A New Era Of Swimming Governance

The WSA intends to transform swimming into a professional drug-free, risk-free sport that serves athletes first and foremost [image by Patrick B. Kraemer]

The founding principles of the World Swimming Association, officially adopted in Cleveland this week as the organisation that will take over the governance of the sport, were backed by a unanimous vote of approval from more than 650 coaches this weekend

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The founding principles of the World Swimming Association, officially adopted in Cleveland this week as the organisation that will take over the governance of the sport, were backed by a unanimous vote of approval from more than 650 coaches this weekend

Comments

Yozhik

I was looking for the reaction and comments on the news of WSA creation. The search for “World Swimming Association” returned with nothing either by Google or by Bing. Even the reference to this article popped up and now disappeared. What has actually happened in Cleveland? Was it just the declaration of intention and we have to wait for the convention to make it official?

Lawrie Cox

The first step of many towards a stronger and far more transparent sporting body.

Ger

Best wishes to all involved; hopefully the beginning of a new era of transformation.

aswimfan

Who are in professional swimmers association?
I want names! 🙂

Good luck to WSA and PAA!

And don’t forget to make your swimming events available to watch for swim fans like me who may not live in USA or Europe. (and who would be willing to pay to watch!)

Ger

Craig speaking on SW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=105&v=JkjGpqFjLgw

Felix Sanchez

If FINA is toppled my unpublished stories about the behaviour of officials will be useless!

A ‘swimming’ association, rather than ‘aquatics’ is a good first step. I love water polo, and have a deep respect for the athleticism of synchronised swimmers, but these are completely different sports with a vague watery similarity. The sprawling purpose and size of FINA is a big part of their problems.

Paul Moxham

Thanks for the link Ger, https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=105&v=JkjGpqFjLgw is worth half an hour of every aquatic lovers time. I await FINA appearing on SW with their half hour of rebuttal.

Craig Lord

Roy and all wondering: there will be nothing much on WSA, PSA etc for next 6 months at least, in terms of visibility and unrolling of plans. Like all that work swimmers do every day, the details of the work going on in the background are best not played out in public. The location of any head office has not been decided – and the organisation will not be america centric but you could, as we all should, expect the USA to have a key say in the running of world swimming. And on a number of levels, that’s a good thing, together with all the cautions that come with any singular influence from anywhere in the world, not forgetting that the same thoughts and cautions apply to universality, elements of which have been and are detrimental to the development of swimming.

Jorge Abril

It will be like boxing? Two or more International Organizations?

Craig Lord

Not if 1 global organisation has no world-class top 30 swimmers to represent, Jorge. The intention of those preparing for the new world is to replace, even if the body they plan to replace does not wish to be replaced…

longstroke

The newly formed WSA will not amount to much unless the leading federations get on board. If the USA, Australia, Germany, Great Britain etc. had insisted on higher governance standards FINA today would not be the mediocre, unrepresentative, unaccountable body that it is. I fear the federations will go into denial about the need to have a new governing body rather than admit they were asleep at the wheel.

Craig Lord

All but your first sentence may well be so, longstroke. On that first point: no federation nor association can go on without athletes. The power is with federations because of the structures in place. Change the structures and much changes with that. And home feds would be wise to wake up. Right now, those athletes earn nothing to little for the most part, including many world top 30 swimmers – to $50,000 and upwards for a relative few; and 1 or 2 bigger money. Small beer and surface thin. It will be down to athletes ultimately: if they want a sport where the top 100 ranked swimmers in the world are earning a decent living wage that stretches to longer careers and being able to save for a day before sport; and if that format were to attract those who can ensure the financial rewards run much deeper, then no federation nor organisation will have the say as FINA does now: the world will have tilted on its axis. It can happen if the biggest players want it to.

longstroke

Craig, I agree totally that the swimmers are the lifeblood of the sport and need to be better rewarded financially for their efforts. They also need a much bigger say on how the sport is run. In the past they have not been very active in demanding change. Perhaps this is already happening behind the scenes which fans like myself aren’t aware of. I certainly hope that’s the case because without their strong support for the WSA I just can’t see the federations suddenly changing tack as they seem to be wedded to the current power structures.

Jorge Abril

Craig, thanks for the reply, but I am very sceptical about it. Long road ahead of us. What does usaswimming think?, por example…

Yozhik

Six month is probably sufficient time to make it clear what WSA is up to and where and how it plans to get money. Meanwhile longstroke raised a valid point – if WSA against FINA and FINA is the association of National Federations then what what will those federations do if their association is gone? It’s a lot of people can be out from their well paid jobs. I think that relationships with Federations is the most crucial point that can determine WSA’s fate.

Jorge Abril

Another question: WSA project integrate all Aquatic sports or swimming only?

Craig Lord

Skepticism is bound to remain, Jorge; federations have it in their hands to force change in the way they would like to see it before it is too late, however long that takes, Yozhik; Jorge – swimming only… WSA neither wants nor needs the other sports, which must find a way to self-govern or stick with FINA if the WSA attracts the bulk of world-class elite swimmers. There will be a time of divide, a moment of big change … or a moment when all accept an even worse version of FINA in its current structure and form. The time to decide iOS not far away, choices all the easier when it becomes clear what the new world could look like. Sitting around being skeptical, pessimistic is not going to change anything, of course. As Wharhol said: “They say time changes things but you actually have to change them yourself”

Yozhik

There is no skepticism in my posting, Craig. There is one unsolved major problem so far – professional swimmer has to be paid whatever he/she earned and there supposed to be free market conditions that will determine the appropriate payment. This problem will be addressed one way or another pretty soon. It is an unstoppable process and this is how I see it
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/109797241/Capture3.JPG 🙂
If Federations cannot adjust their structure to meet this requirement they will be gone. What will be instead it is hard to predict. I have no doubts that WSA or any similar organizations that will move in this direction will evolve, transformed and modified multiple times before the situation gets stable.
What I also strongly believe in is that as payment system gets straight forward then this sport becomes cleaner, because there would be no joke about steeling someone else’s earnings and it would be considered a criminal act with the following professional disqualification.

Craig Lord

Thanks Yozhik, I think you’re on right lines … and agree with your last sentiment 🙂 … the skepticism comment was for Jorge, who says (understandably) he’s skeptical. A new world with even the bulk of the very best and free of so much of the nonsense that backers, sponsors and broadcasters and potential hosts have to put up with from current arrangements would, I believe, be most welcome.

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