Athletes, Do The Right Thing: Boycott FINA, Say No To Money Soaked In Sorrow Of Fran

Photo: Fran Crippen died in a FINA world cup event in 2010; upper limits on water temperatures were imposed for races after two inquiries - and now they have been ignored, Japan's response was to pull its entire national team from the Asian Championships

Editorial: Today we stand by our colleagues at Swimming World and its story and editorial on FINA’s decision to triple the prize money to lure athletes back to the waters in which Fran Crippen died off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Insensitive is way too mild a word. If ever there was a right moment to boycott, this is it

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Editorial: Today we stand by our colleagues at Swimming World and its story and editorial on FINA’s decision to triple the prize money to lure athletes back to the waters in which Fran Crippen died off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Insensitive is way too mild a word. If ever there was a right moment to boycott, this is it


Clive Rushton

I usually treat factual reports from SwimVortex as ‘read’ because I trust the reporting and research skills of Craig but this report had me doubting the accuracy of the details. Surely no body, and nobody, could be so crass as to blatantly slap the sport across the face by the simple, dirty, disgusting, loathful bribe of trippling the offered prize money in such a blatantly immoral manner? You can almost hear the disdainful, offhand comment in the corridors of Lausanne; “Throw more money at it.”

However, there it is in black and white, in pixelated monochrome. $60,000. FINA’s own publication [quietly] trumpets the grand prize of chasing ‘filthy lucre’ over integrity, respect and honor. Every other leg of the series is pegged at $20,000 but this one, the one which should never have been awarded (and should never be awarded in the future) epitomizes the murky, immoral and disgracefully slimy depths to which FINA has sunk.

Where is the public condemnation from the TOWSC and OW-sympathetic Bureau members? Why are they not appalled at this crass bribery? I know some of them personally; why are they not writhing and riling in embarrassment? Is the blazer really worth the selling of their souls? It would seem so.

“Go West,” would seem to be the clarion call to every OW swimmer. Go to Florida. Go to the Crippen Cup.

John Leonard

The utter, absolute cynicism of the FINA office and Bureau…the just means that they believe, “EVERYONE CAN BE BOUGHT.”



John Leonard

Craig Lord

“why are they not writhing and riling in embarrassment? Is the blazer really worth the selling of their souls?” Quite so, Clive… time to stand up and be counted, like never before in swimming, no question

Craig Lord

Indeed, John

Mike Higgs

Its time to raise the middle finger to FINA.. Lets get all coaches to boycott the FINA circuit until they get their house in order.

Lets suggest a new rule as well to punish the drugs cheats

Where a total of “X” swimmers, in any national association , have failed drug tests ,ALL swimmers ,coaches and officials in that National association shall be excluded from international competition for a period of one year.

If in the following year a total of “x” swimmers in that national association fail drug tests ALL swimmers , coaches and officials shall be excluded from the next World Championships or Olympics which ever may come first.

Mike Higgs

the above may need re wording but I know that Craig will know I mean drugs tests during a one year period

Keep up the good work, Craig and John




Have you commented on this [USA Swimming sex abuse cases and allegations] before?

Craig Lord

Yes, Daniel, I have commented on the topic, quite often [I removed your link: as editor I decide what is legally safe for us – and right now I have no time to check the contents of all that you linked to, thanks for your understanding]

Steven Munatones

I raised my voice against the decisions and actions of FINA and its cavalier attitude towards safety while I was a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee. I suggested alternative solutions both in (TOWSC) committee and to the FINA Sports Medicine Committee. Finally, I raised my concerns publicly via articles in Swimming World Magazine and the Daily News of Open Water Swimming. The decision of FINA was swift and quiet. I was removed from all official’s lists and asked by FINA to resign. My decision was equally as swift. I resigned because I could not morally follow FINA’s decisions – not when athletes’ lives are at stake. Anyone who was at the 2011 FINA World Championships 25 km race in Shanghai understands about FINA’s attitude and actions regarding safety … especially the athletes …

Steven Munatones

The article that led to Cornel Marculescu asking for my resignation from the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee is here:

Craig Lord

Thanks, Steven, for the reminder (we reported the same in the days before SwimVortex) — I also recall asking questions of others who remained on the TOWSC, including former athletes who said that they stood for safety – no reply, no response, not even a polite “sorry, this is difficult for me’: fear and a lack of courage continue to feed malaise and bad practice. That some and sometimes much good work is also achieved within FINA is no longer a good enough excuse – and when a man dies fear and lack of courage ought to be outweighed by all those other things that well in human hearts and minds, like decency, like drawing a line, like getting it right for all who follow. So far, money and politics have won the day: shame on all those who have sat in silence – and by that I mean in committee and in public.

David Wendkos

I felt personally affected from the moment I learned of Fran’s death, and continue to find every bit of this very emotionally impactful. Unfortunately, as a coach who does not work with nationally ranked swimmers, or have credentials to exert any sort of political pressure, it seems there is nothing at all that I can do to help in this fight. Am I wrong? Are there ways I can “pitch in” and help? Clearly, the welfare of the sport of swimming is no longer truly of concern to FINA, and as someone who loves the sport on so many levels and for so many reasons, I harbor a great resentment and anger for that falsely titled “governing” body. Please, if there are actions that “regular” coaches around the country can take, let us know. I believe there are many of us who would act if we knew what action to take.

Craig Lord

Thanks for your comment David: I will make WSCA/ASCA aware of your comment: their campaign for change/replacement is on the move – and every ‘signature’ they have in support of their actions will count. There will be further ways to add your voice to the movement for the betterment of swimming in the near future. Best, Craig

Steven Munatones

David, there are many things a local coach can do in response to FINA’s position. For one, you can explain to others how warm 31°C (87.8°F) truly is. FINA has existing limitations on its maximum pool water temperatures far south of 31°C, but it allows open water swimmers to compete in outrageously warm and dangerously high temperatures. In fact, FINA is on record that temperatures up to 31°C are NOT dangerous. Secondly, you can explain to others the responsibilities of those who organize open water swimming competitions: what to look for, how to recognize hypothermia and hyperthermia, how to design safe open water courses. Thirdly, you can explain to others how to properly prepare for open water races: how to acclimate, pace, position, hydrate, and feed in the open water. Fourthly, you can tell people how the members of the FINA TOWSC are selected. Fifthly, you can inquire about the open water swimming background and experience of the newest FINA TOWSC members.* Sixthly, you can continue to follow and participate in the sport at your local level. FINA oversees only an extraordinarily TINY sliver of the global open water swimming world. FINA’s handful of Grand Prix and World Cup races are certainly grand events, but there are also an additional 12,500 open water swimming events in (at least) 162 countries that entirely exist outside the sphere of FINA’s structure (or even FINA’s knowledge).

Jim C

I would prefer to see sum of water and air temperatures re-expressed as averages. An average temperature of 31.5C converts in a normal fashion to 88.7F while an average of 15C converts to 59F. C to F conversion of the sum of temperatures is likely to be confusing for many people.

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