Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia
Many of the world’s top swimmers have taken a stand, or at least a partial stand against FINA by agreeing to participate in the International Swimming League, which was supposed to start in December.
But FINA’s lack of support for the league and questions surrounding eligibility for FINA events for swimmers who participated caused ISL to delay the launch of its competition and led to the cancellation of the non-FINA-sacntioned Energy for Swim meet in Italy. But the issue has been in the sport’s spotlight because of it.
Cate Campbell of Australia has been one of the most outspoken athletes against FINA and spoke out this week.
“The world governing body is doing a disservice to the very people that they are supposed to advocate for and protect,” Campbell told The Daily Telegraph. “It’s a sad day for sport because we are taking away a great event and losing an opportunity to grow the sport. The reality is we have to evolve with the times and a revolutionary idea like this ISL would take swimming into the 21st century so athletes are losing out.”
Campbell wasn’t afraid to speak out, despite what could lie ahead in the battle between FINA and ISL and all of the swimmers in between.
“I know this will probably get me a lot of trouble with them but I think you need to stand up to it because there are a lot of people getting very rich from swimming but it’s not the athletes,” Campbell told The Daily Telegraph. “I think that FINA have forgotten that they exist because of athletes because there are people who are passionate enough to get up and train 10 sessions a week and work the hours that are required to be an elite athlete. FINA is not supporting us, they are putting swimmers at the bottom of their priority list.
“I can guarantee that just about any athlete in the world would have said that this ISL is a good thing and good opportunity to grow swimming globally but FINA’s worried that it’s going to cut down on their revenue.”
The entire situation has put swimmers, especially elite swimmers, and their federations in a difficult situation.
“We feel very much like we’re the meat in the sandwich,” Swimming Australia Chief Executive Leigh Russell told The Daily Telegraph.