What Life Could Be Like As A Professional Swimmer – A Letter From Geoff Cheah

Sprinters in the wash - could they be earning a living wage from their sport?

In the debate about FINA Future and how to find new and better ways of structuring swimming to the benefit of swimmers not blazers, athletes are starting to find their voice. Here, sprinter Geoff Cheah outlines a vision of what life could be like as a professional swimmer

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In the debate about FINA Future and how to find new and better ways of structuring swimming to the benefit of swimmers not blazers, athletes are starting to find their voice. Here, sprinter Geoff Cheah outlines a vision of what life could be like as a professional swimmer

Comments

paul Schlanger

Wow!!!!!! What an unbelievable concept to apply to swimming. Being a parent of a swimmer who has been repeatedly on the losing end of decisions by the swimming governing body, I find this article extremely exiting.
C’mon, swimmers of the world unite in your own self interest and to self determination. It has to start somewhere and this is it.

Lawrie Cox

Thanks Geoff for a well thought contribution to the current debate. Whilst you have touched on the issue of the swimmer you have not addressed the other parts such as the coaches, officials, development aspects also necessary to the sport. I do not dispute the right to make an income where possible to be in the hands of the individual the overall development and what follows as well as being able to deliver the goods for the current group need to be considered.
Such as how do the rules apply and who supplies the control?
Development in the Federations needs consideration as well and contribution is needed from the same group that desire to be individuals for development. Do we for example walk away form countries and provide ‘slams’ with team arena, speedo etc..?
It is not an easy solution but needs the sum of the parts to bring a change.
Paul nice contribution but i wonder why you are not as critical as you have been in the past when you so actively criticised the Aus CEO for his salary and have been very silent on the significant costs in salaries to current CEO and other senior staff as well as the number of staff??? Please be consistent.

james parrack

There is so much wrong with this article that it is difficult to know where to start, so I will start with this: Eddie Reese will be 74 this summer.

Craig Lord

Thanks James. It would be more interesting to know from you how you feel the current mess could be set right. Pen that letter of your vision – and send it in 🙂

james parrack

With great difficulty! Building an alternative FINA will be complex, expensive and irrevocable, so this decision can not be taken lightly.
At present, I favour the demands as written by the WSCA, i.e. full financial disclosure, and independent reviews of management and governance. At least then, we will have a better understanding of how to set the direction of the organisation and the changes that will be needed to get there.
Let that happen, let us read it, then we can start to pen our visions.
What I know is that I am firmly with Clive Rushton: just imagine if our sport had the best world governing body of any sport, anywhere. That should be the mindset that underpins any review and recommendation.
What I also know is that we overestimate the interest in swimming races by the media and commercial world at our peril.

Craig Lord

I agree with that James… the latter is partly down to the format: carrying a world championship format (that is even weighty during a world champs) with you wherever you go tends to be, well… extremely boring for anyone who isn’t directly involved. The big moments are great. Much of the rest is not working nearly as well as it could.

james parrack

Yes, and if we knew the answers we’d already be doing them…

Craig Lord

No you wouldn’t James… you’d be sitting in FINA world grumbling while nothing of any consequence in terms of change was all about you 🙂 … as is the case right now. Time for change. By all means wait for your vision but there are those already pressing their’s and something will break, so the more keener minds that start to think and engage now, the better.
In terms of governance: simply can’t go on
In terms of the competition calendar, types of competitions and a change in the way swimmers are funded at a certain level and age (the possibilities and different ways of doing it), there are many options, ideas ranging from good to bad to ugly… and somewhere there will be some golden ideas… and they definitely are not going to happen if we all say ‘if we knew, we’d be doing it already’… we know fina governance isn’t working, James, we know that we have world champs in which 10 of the best 30 in the world don’t get to compete … we know it, but it’s still with us…
You have a keen mind, James, and a great deal to offer – we need that…

james parrack

I think many of us broadly agree on the list of things that need to be changed and the urgency of those changes and we are all ready to walk if need be. My concern is knowing what we are walking into.
It seems like one of two things will happen next week: either FINA agree to the changes, or WSCA set up a new governing body.
In both cases the community will need to know who is in charge and I favour finding a benign dictator who will sift through the avalanche of noise, as you say, good, bad and ugly, and impose a system that we can sign up to.

Craig Lord

Understand, James … nothing will happen overnight, whether FINA agree to a review or not. Next week, a process will begin, one way or the other. The one without FINA envisages a timetable and I would imagine that will work to a new start the over side of Rio. It would have to be done with rigour and, as you say, with a clear vision of where its going (some of that is already fairly clear, at least to me 🙂 but in a time frame hat does not damage athletes gutting ready for the end of a cycle that counts for a grew deal in swimming, even if most swimmers never get to do more than watch it unfold…

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