The Other Side Of USA Swimming’s Coin: Dagny Knutson & Where It All Went Wrong

Happier times: (L-R) Dagny Knutson, Katie Hoff, Allison Schmitt and Missy Franklin - gold in the 4x200m Freestyle at the 2011 world titles - by Patrick B. Kraemer

In the wake of our No1 entry in the Top 20 SwimVortex swim stories of 2016, today on this first day of 2017 as we wish everyone a Happy and Healthy year ahead, we highlight the story of Dagny Knutson as told by the Washington Post.

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I felt outrage about a number of things whilst reading this article. There were many parties who acted in their self-interest and not in the interests of a vulnerable young girl who didn’t come from a smart, affluent family and made the mistake of being too trusting of those in influential positions. It also got up my nose that the college system blocked her path to resurrecting her career by ruling that she had disqualified herself from amateur status. I mean, come on! It’s not as if the poor girl had reaped any real financial rewards through her deal with USA Swimming. I’ve always found the college system a bit of a curiosity, not least its religious devotion to the short course yards format and in general its way too precious approach when it comes to its rules and traditions. This particular case only reinforce it.

Craig Lord

Yes, a case of heads ought to be hanging all round, longstroke. Athlete representation needs to be entirely independent – and those who govern sport must learn to and must work with those independent representatives. Anything else is far to close to master and slave as opposed to service in the interests of the athletes and coaches and others whose efforts make it possible for the federation officials and representations to hold down their positions in the first place.

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