World Coaches Back Sweetenham Proposal For FINA To Submit To Independent Review

In the Depths - Photo by Patrick B. Kraemer

The Board of Directors of the World Swimming Coaches Association and the equivalent body representing the American Swimming Coaches Association have issued a swift backing of the proposal of Bill Sweetenham for FINA to commission an independent professional review of all its operations

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The Board of Directors of the World Swimming Coaches Association and the equivalent body representing the American Swimming Coaches Association have issued a swift backing of the proposal of Bill Sweetenham for FINA to commission an independent professional review of all its operations



While I appreciate his efforts, and applaud his stance here, Leonard’s approach of appealing to Marculescu to ease his workload is a redundant tactic. Marculescu covers all disciplines not out of a sense of responsibility, but because he manufactured it that way. He rules with an iron fist, and allows no one else to have a say or a controlling hand. Not the bureau, not the technical committees, not the athletes and not the coaches. No one.

FINA will not submit to an independent review unless it is on their terms. And if that were the case, it certainly wouldn’t be independent.

Craig Lord

Fedupwith FINA. The offer has been made – it was the right thing to do. As I wrote in response to long stroke: as you suggest, any choice from within or even connected to within would not be seen (nor would it be) independent. I see this offer as coaches saying ‘last chance’ … do you want to talk or not.


An honourable gesture, though I fear it will fall on deaf ears.

I also fear that the collective voices of the coaches will not be heard by FINA, or more likely, will be ignored by the wonderful people there. Something much more drastic is required. The collective voice of the affiliated Federations is much more likely to have an impact, if they have the gumption to stand up and be heard. Though they will fear the wrath of FINA and bury their heads in the sand.

Side note: There is no accountability; within FINA; something which any review should look to address, if it were to go ahead.

Craig Lord

FedupwithFINA: I would imagine that is what is intended … this is a genuine offer, it seems to me … but behind it lies a steely will to take FINA on if it opts out of meaningful engagement. Beyond this point, depending on how FINA reacts, there are two choices from those who fundamentally disagree with the way FINA is run – silence and put up with all the bad stuff for a long time to come … or make the break and create a new world (the third option is always, of course, to leave the pool altogether and speaking only to my line of work, I’ve seen that happen with quite a few colleagues in journalism who arrived full os enthusiasm and provided fine coverage of the sport but had lost interest within a few short years so fed up were they with the crap they had to put up with merely in terms of their working environment, the lack of sensible answers on critical issues etc etc). There’s not much left in between silence and permanent schism in swimming, for we all know the issues and there comes a point at which there is no longer any point in talking about them if the people most affected are not prepared to take a stand (something FINA bosses have relied on for a long time).


The thinking from Bill Sweetenham and the WSCA seems to be that FINA will refuse to conduct an independent review which will prove once and for all it is beyond redemption and deserves to be replaced by a new organization. But will anything serious come out of it if the national federations aren’t on board?

I am perplexed as to why the leading national federations are so preoccupied with what is happening within their own borders that they have allowed a second-rate, unaccountable international governing body to take the sport backwards. But I am only an outsider and perhaps there are moves for change behind the scenes. Meanwhile the stupid and damaging acts to the sport of swimming keep coming: the performance-enhancing suits debacle, the primacy now being given to short-course swimming, the weak response to the many recent drugs violations, the pandering to NBC on the issue of starting times for finals in Rio …..

How much more damage to the sport will the national federations tolerate? Quite a bit more is my guess as they continue to delude themselves that reform from within is still possible.

Clive Rushton

Longstroke: why would the national federations demand change? The people running those federations are benefitting from the FINA largesse.

The current Comstitution mitigates against the leading nations having much influence; that is why the Committees are stacked with delegates from countries which are non-entities as far as competition is concerned.

If you were affiliated to a small, isolated country’s swimming federation which had, nor has, no history of even second-rate competitive performances in any of the five aquatic disciplines, yet you enjoyed regular and frequent first class travel (often multiple times a month) and hospitality to all the exotic centres of the world’s hot spots, why would you demand change?


Clive, I agree with you entirely and I have said before that where the influence of the major stakeholders is diluted through one country – one vote constitutional mechanisms mediocrity and poor governance inevitably follow.

What concerns me is that despite receiving significant taxpayer support the national federations of the leading swimming nations act as if it’s within their private domain and that they should be left to deal with the issue. If I was the Minister for Sport in my country I would demand to know what the national federation that I was funding was doing to improve the governance of the sport at the global level.


On another note: sad news from Argentina. Camille Muffat dead in apparent helicopter collision. RIP!

Bill Bell

Expecting FUNA to accede to ANY request for an impartial investigation of its activities/structure etc. is skin to Putin appointing himself ” chief investigator” of the murder of that Russian official Nemtsov and then two months later proclaiming he has “solved” the crime after rounding up the usual suspects.

Or as Tom Lehr once so gleefully sang a few moons ago:

“Nothing could be done because he was the mayor’s son.”

Bob Ballard

Change one letter and you have FIFA – which the governing body for Swimming is starting to resemble. The ‘blazers’ only have one interest, their own, and that is common among so many sports these days. The athletes/competitors/participants come a long way down the priority list.


Maybe if we can get rid of FINA we can get the ‘fun’ suits back?

Larry Laursen, WSCA Board, Africa

What we all need to understand in our attempt to appeal to National Federations to rise up in protest is that they will not.

The majority of National Swimming Federations, at least in second and third world countries, are volunteer associations, largely made up of parents whose swimmers will benefit from FINA’s “largess”, or from officials who are on the list to parade around the pool as FINA technical officials at International meets.

These second and third World Nations are the ULTIMATE FINA SUPPORT BASE because each has two votes no matter its number of registered competitors. And the second and third world nations far outnumber the first world nations The FINA Bureau know that this segment of members is the easiest and cheapest to target when they need votes in their favour. And they will come out in battle firing 100’s of Federation support letters to combat the 1000’s of coaches letters both ASCA and WSCA.

We need to get to the masses of parents that are dissatisfied with their Federations.

Many such Federations operate exactly like FINA…but in a microcosm . They are not going to change their status on the FINA gravy train.

I believe that in each swimming country there are 100’s if not 1000’s of parents and swimmers that want a say in how their Federations ignore them. I also believe that there are a large number of Federations that may be doing a good job, but will benefit from us at WSCA and ASCA “Shaking their Tree”.

So. although I have said this before I will repeat myself . The only way to get to the ground level and induce such reaction is to find and use the social media “fundis” to help us spread the word to parents and swimmers.

And I am concerned that we do not yet have a network of renowned swimmers that are calling for change. FINA will use that against our campaign for change.

Two things I am extremely excited about is that our “Brain Trust” is bigger than FINA’s…and that we have a superior journalist getting the message out. Thanks Craig ! Get your pals behind you..especially TV…


Craig, i was joking.

Craig Lord

tee hee, jman – you’ll have to forgive me. On a day of covering the passing of Camille Muffat, the humour of suits passed me by.


Welp. The silence is deafening.


ESPN’s Bonnie Ford talks about open water safety and the UAE ‘test event’, making it sound like there is still much work to be done there:

Good to see FINA get some mainstream press in the race to the bottom among sports federations.

Craig Lord

Coach, there is often silence before a storm: I can confirm that behind the scenes, the silence has broken and a great many people are keen for change and ready to do something about it. It is to be expected that there will be a great many people who will wait to see where the wind is blowing – they are human.

Craig Lord

beachmouse – they’ll be more of that as the season sets in …

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