Michael Phelps Back To Winning; FINA Director Back To Beyond His Authority

Michael Phelps, by Peter Bick

Before Michael Phelps made his return to action from a six-month suspension a victorious one, FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu suggested that Phelps could be given a special invitation to this summer’s World Championships.

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Before Michael Phelps made his return to action from a six-month suspension a victorious one, FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu suggested that Phelps could be given a special invitation to this summer’s World Championships.

Comments

Danjohnrob

John Lohn, Thank you for that excellent recap! It amazes me how quickly Swimvortex is able to post articles after event completion! I’m looking forward to reading the comments that will undoubtedly be made below to Marculescu’s statement; it would be fair for the US to have a THIRD competitor in Phelps’ events, wouldn’t it? 😉

beachmouse

Remind me again why USAS picked their World team last summer. Worrell is looking like she would have been useful in Kazan.

I would be in favor of FINA implementing a IAAF-style previous World Champion bye into the next World Championships and not having it count against a country’s event or team size quota. It seems to work out well for track and I don’t see why it couldn’t work for pool and open water swimming as well.

But that is a matter that should be decided by all member nations in general congress. It should not be allowed for FINA leadership to say “We can do whatever.” and invite athletes outside of the rules set forth in the meet book.

I’m very much against international federation meddling in how national federations select their national teams. It’s FINA’s job to write a meet book that says WADA policy will be followed and that here is the list of minimum performance standards to be allowed to compete at the event. As long as the civil rights provisions of the Olympic charter and WADA rules are followed, FINA should have no say in how nations select their athletes, even when it seems arbitrary or overly harsh or just plain dumb. (Though I reserve the right for us fans to say a country’s selection policy is stupid.)

aswimfan

Beachmouse,

USAS started picking World team in the previous summer in 2006, when 2007 Melbourne was held in March.

Since it would have been impossible to hold US trials just before 2007 Worlds (it would have bumped into NCAAs), they had to pick the team the year before. And it continued since then, event though successive worlds after 2007 melbourne have been held in August.

aswimfan

On the issue of Cornel Marculescu,

I agree with Beachmouse. Marculescu MUST NOT be allowed to treat FINA like his personal kingdom where he says and does whatever he likes (giving medal to Putin, giving preeferantial treatment to one swimmer but not others, etc.)

I also agree that defending world or olympics champions are given berth outside of the allocation per country rule given that they have swum FINA A in the qualifying period.
Alternatively, they should allocate 3 swimmers per country for world championships given that all three swimmers meet a tougher standard than FINA A. This would mean Australia can send 3 swimmers in w100 free and GBR can send 3 swimmers in m200breast.

Someone needs to show the door to Marculescu.

beachmouse

And USAS should have learned their lesson about early selection in 2011 when they had probably had the best women’s 200 freestyler in the world but she was not entered in that individual event based on 2010 form.

Danjohnrob

@beachmouse and aswimfan: 100% agreement on all points. USS is going to look pretty stupid if Worrell and Meili, etc, etc, swim faster at Nationals than the members of our World Team. I do think that the World meet should not have been part of Phelps’ punishment (just my opinion), but changing things now would make USS look bad and would be unfair to other athletes. The fact that a high-ranking official at FINA would SAY that is just crazy to me! He really thinks he has the power to change the rules like that whenever he wishes? The height of hubris!

Commenter

There is no denying that Phelps is the greatest swimmer in History and having him in Kazan would be a huge boost to the event (or any event)….but I don’t care how good he is, they cannot allow a change in the rules for one swimmer only. The fact that Marculescu is even suggesting it is grossly inappropriate. If USA can have 3 reps in an event, FINA must allow every nation 3 reps in every event. People are not bigger than the sport. Marculescu needs a swift boot up the backside and out the door of FINA, never to return.

Commenter

…having said that I am all for the 3 per nation rule across the board. A swimmer capable of winning a world championship medal should not be left out of the race. If a nation sweeps the podium so be it. Its a world championship and the best of the best should win the medals. That means 3 per nation. Works in track and field, why not swimming?

Bad Anon

IAAF offers defending world champions wild card entries. FINA should take a cue and Phelps shouldnt be the only exception

Anan

Yes Danjohnrob,
it seems that, ruling, for some guys at FINA means going around the rules. Definitely something’s wrong there. When is a new body supposed to take over?

robbos

I am not American, nor a particularly big fan of Phelps (taken too many golds off Aussies). However, he is the Greatest & a massive drawcard & do not mind making an exception of him. If I was a top swimmer like Le Clos, I would rather Phelps competed & to have have beaten him, then people to say you only won because Phelps was not there.

Craig Lord

Anan – quite so, I have added a section in the article to show how the director has no authority to make such an offer

Craig Lord

robbos – you can’t just make it up as you go along … that would be totally unfair to all. If wild cards are to be offered in swimming, specific rules should be written with conditions that apply to all and don’t rely on the whim of a fina director running a little nervous about an investment in Russia

MP

Craig – Utterly ridiculous of Fina. Against all principles of having to qualify for a major event. 2 per Nations and all that. What Michael has given to swimming is immense, but he also made millions out of it and 22 Olympic medals. That should be enough. The world of swimming is tired and upset hearing news like this.

Craig Lord

quite so, Commenter

Craig Lord

My words added to the article on that situation DanJohnrob: the director has, yet again, gone beyond his authority and made a mockery of 115 years of FINA development, procedure and constitutional reform.

pol

Unfair? Well, Phelps did qualify. This Team USA is looking very weak already. And the officials should be blamed for that.

MP

Pol – Does Phelps swim for US Swimming or Fina? The laws of the swimming federation he swims for should be binding, not bent by an outside body to serve their commercial needs, because this is what it is all about…

pol

MP, I know. But what the US Swimming did was stupid and unfair in the first place. They have no right to strip Phelps’s right to compete in Kazan. It was a domestic issue and should have been treated within that. It has nothing to do with swimming. Phelps earned his spot. It wasn’t given to him. It was purely trying to protect their image.

The US team will be in big trouble in Kazan. And I won’t be surprised if they regret that decision and even the decision of picking the team early.

Craig Lord

Phelps qualified for the USA, pol, and in a joint agreements opted out of worlds this summer in circumstances we’re all aware of. Nothing to do with FINA, nor should it be, regardless of what we may think one way or the other about decisions taken in the U.S.

Craig Lord

MP, quite so.

My Opinion

i agree that phelps should never have been taken off the USA roster. He qualified and he should swim. But as soon as that decision was made by USA Swimming and Phelps himself, it shut the door to him and FINA have no right to offer an alternative. The only way back for phelps in Kazan is through a reversal of the decision of USA swimming and having his named replacement step aside. Marculescu is once again proving why FINA need an independent review, subsequent reform or complete replacement.

DDias

The 3 per rule should be applied with a hard time to beat, like Brazil does to qualify for Worlds in non Olympic events(6th time in the last Worlds).

Peter

the 2 per nation rule is just stupid. Look at speedskating, nordic ski, downhill ski, athletics , cylcing only 2 per nation should result for skiing in only 2 swiss, 2 norwegian, 2 french, … yeah right you want the best of the world compete so let the best compete. if that means a final with 4 aussies, or 4 usa, or 3 brits, or whatever nation so be it. more on topic, FINA members should follow their rules not make them up as they think is more convenient.

Anan

Hi Peter,
i am not sure stupid is the right word, everything depends on how FINA consider its job. and you consider it. Is it only to know who are the best on a specific day? To promote swimming? or a little bit of both? Is it to make the sport richer and professionalize it?
Because for me, that can justify different things:
– 2 swimmers per nation or no limit per nation,
– having a world championship in the same place year after year as a long as it keeps being the best facility, or going in a different place every 2 years,
– shiny suits,
– etc…
The only things that can damage any of those philosophies and the sport itself are: making the rules as you go, allowing doping.

Clive Rushton

Mad Hatter’s Tea-party!

JMott76

Craig

We’re now at April 17th, 2 days after deadline. Any word on WSCA and what their next move will be? Is “mutiny & replacement” still on? Please give us an update if you know anything!

Peter

hello Anan, true maybe stupid is wrong choice of words. Point is you wan the best of the world, in a country the size of USA it’s more likely to have more potential candidates then Belize. But you can always debate on which are the best swimmer. the one that has the worldrecord because without a doubt he/she is the fastest ever, or the one whose fingertips just stretch that bit further on those magic 21 secs or so (depending distance swum). anyway consider WC downhill skiing with just 2 canadians, 2 suisse, 2 austrian, …. for instance speedskating has full podium on some distances with only dutch or only americans; in nordic ski it happens full podium is one nation, if their the best their the best. but as it is fina rule is fina rule

skugi

I agree FINA can’t do whatever it wants. Of course I also agree that there can’t be 3 swimmers in an event for only 1 nation and now that it’s in place the punishment should hold up. However in my view the punishment was way over the top. In the same way FINA (read Marculescu) is trying to overstep it’s authority USA Swimming did the same regarding Phelps’s case. He shouldn’t have been punished at all and even if you think he should’ve, they most surely can’t go back on making the Pan Packs the qualifying meet.

Danjohnrob

Mr Lord, I love your final line under the Phelps section, “Comment: the director should now receive a warning letter…”
Awesome! You never disappoint me with your committment to support rational and fair practices in our sport! If only…

aswimfan

Even Michael Phelps sounded a bit embarrassed and taken aback when told that cornel marculescu offered to take him to Kazan on FINA special invite.

Rafael

The 2 person rule.. some people want it banned

But there is a total athlete cap quantity.. so.. like… the top 20 times in the world.. we would have countries that the swimmer took it easy and got under Fina A but did not qualify because of the overall cap…

aswimfan

I think with all the criticism towards FINA leadership and management lately, Cornel Marculescu want to be in the good grace of the Americans by offering the ill-advised special invite to Phelps.

Craig Lord

Rafael, if a measure like world top 20 or 30 were used, a swimmer would have all season to register their best at registered events with doping tests in the mix … and there could be a cut off date by which the line is drawn … the FINA A time would be irrelevant… the standard would be higher all round.

aswimfan

I want to see Phelps swim in Kazan as much as anyone else, but not if it means that FINA bend over backwards to bend the rule for one swimmer, even if he’s the greatest of all time.

Craig Lord

JMott… yes, I have had word and the replacement plan is very much on the move… this will not be an overnight switch, of course, but more will become clear over the coming weeks and months … I’ll be sure to bring you the news and moves…

beachmouse

Cornel Marculescu want to be in the good grace of the Americans by offering the ill-advised special invite to Phelps.

**************

And totally failed to realize how much his proposal went against the culture of USA swimming and its membership. If USAS and Phelps wanted him on the team, he’d be on the team at this point. Two men on the team (Tyler Clary of all people and Lochte) offered up individual event spots that would get him on the squad without bumping Tim Phillips back off. Phelps and his camp said it was a no go.

The American team is what it is because of high standards both inside and outside the pool. And Phelps has always been clear he’s part of the team, not above it.

Corny’s offer really came across as more of an insult that anything else, like a very well-run federation by many standards was not competent to handle their own team selection.

aswimfan

Beachmouse,

Totally agreed with you on all your points.
The special offer is very very corny indeed.

CT

Is this a pipe dream or does Michael Phelps have a realistic chance at an Olympics comeback. His overnite 100m fly has him world ranked at 20 in an event he once dominated. What are your thoughts?

CT

Gee the Brits keep producing quality breast strokers. Adam Peaty is now the world record holder and they have the current world number two as well. They are even stronger in the 200m. With four of the world top five rankings for 2015. When did Australia last produce a world class male breast stroker?

aswimfan

CT, Australia produced world class male breastsroker as long ago as the last year when Sprenger swam second fastest time of the year.

CT

Yes I know. Remembered only once I had posted. I did ask if we could edit after posting. Nobody has answered? Sprenger has had an inconsistent career. Has never nailed down first spot and rarely comes up with truly world class swims when the chips are down.

aswimfan

Has never nailed down first spot?

Sprenger has been very consistent since early 2012. He won Olympics silver, he finished first in 2013 trials, he won 2013 World Championships (maybe you forgot that he is teh defending world champion?), he finished first in 2014 nationals swimming 58 and 2:08 and was well on his way to a great summer until injuries took him out. and he already swam 1:00 only few months after surgeries. In terms of consistently swimming fast only Peaty is above him since 2012.

if you call winning worlds gold as “never nailed down first spot”, then 99.9999% elite swimmers never nailed down first spot.

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