Saturday, August 28, 2010

Craig Lord essentially states that Eddie Reese is calling for a "FINA mutiny"

Craig Lord of Swim News, a site I have promised to never link to, has produced a piece with such hot rhetoric and with such serious implications that it cannot be ignored. In it, Lord, states that he has seen a mysterious paper that ASCA has forwarded to him with Eddie Reese essentially calling for a de facto mutiny and to completely disenfranchise swimming from FINA thereby creating a new international governing body for swimming:

Holding my nose while I quote Craig Lord and link to his site:
"The End of FINA" will raise alarm bells not only among those running world swimming but in IOC circles too at a time when rumours abound that leading figures in the international federation are pressing for a return of the bodysuit, albeit in textile.

In a document seen by SwimNews, Eddie Reese, one of the world's leading coaches responds to Leonard's paper as follows: "It is time to openly start another organization ... the best swimming nations have a "universal games" at the same time as the Olympics. The athletes would be very important in this situation (as they always are)."

A mutiny, or the start of a new International governing body, would not please the International Olympic Committee, The United States Olympic Committee, USA Swimming nor the US Senate.

FINA was once confronted with a rogue governing body from Brazil and they dealt with them swiftly and with lots of prejudice and threats. If you swam at a non-FINA event, you were banned from FINA events forever. PERIOD! That was their "nuclear option" and it was "Game-on; finger on the button; Hallelujah, the missiles are flying, baby! "

The potential of watering down our Olympic presence and/or medal potential at an Olympic games while two governing bodies summarily conduct a silly "street fight" over textile tech-suits and voting power is way beyond the IOC to comprehend or even tolerate. They don't care about the morals or the ethics of swimsuits, they want a successful Olympics with no outside competition to dilute their billion-dollar party.

Note, that this alleged mutiny is coming out of the United States. Also note that the IOC happens to be in a very public spat at the present time with the the USOC. In fact the IOC even had the "cojones" to embarrass the President of the United States over the Chicago 2016 Games. Subsequently, I don't think the IOC will roll over or tolerate this mutiny and the USOC will get an ear full and told to get their ducks in a row or everybody loses.

John Leonard, of ASCA, is leading this charge and his particular peeve is that FINA wants to fore go their "democracy" as he calls it and run their organization like a "monarchy," or more accurately, like the NCAA. (Read, NCAA, as a synonym to "monarchy"). FINA has decided that they are tired of the USA & Australia dictating how the sport should be conducted and they don't like the voters telling them what they don't want to do.

My take, I want the sport to grow and I feel technology and profit driven industries support swimming and will take this sport to amazing heights. It will benefit athletes with higher salaries and it will benefit my bias for tech suits.

Some professional swimmers are now swimming for suit companies for less than $15,000 a year. A swimmer could make more working at Starbucks or a tech support call center, instead they chose swimming and it is my opinion they should have more opportunities or at least make half as much as Eddie Reese or Mark Schubert.


Anonymous said...

What's interesting in all of this is that ASCA has not come out with any position that I have seen condemning or supporting anything independently of the party line (USA SWIMMING) with regards to the Child Abuse issue which is at the forefront of USA Swimming right now. Are they trying to shift public focus away from the problem? This seems like much ado about nothing to me.

ASCA needs to address this issue within their ranks and also support coaches who are solid coaching citizens. They need to pursue and expel pervert coaches who can't seem to remember what their moral and ethical responsibilities are. They don't need to be wasting resources chasing FINA around and blathering on about an alternative Olympic games. The mere consideration of that idea is repugnant to those of us who watched American athletes robbed of their chance at glory during the 1980 Olympics.

Braden K. said...

I don't know about all of the politics and such, but your last statement is the one that worries me a little. What it comes off as you stating is basically that "we need to allow 800$ rubber suits again so that middle-class America is strongarmed into buying them to subsidize our professional swimming program."

I'm not sure if that's your intent, but by implying that the banning of tech suits is keeping down the potential sponsorship money, because the swim suit companies don't make such massive profits off of the swimming hoards. Please correct me if I misunderstood that, though.

When we spend time discussing all of this elite swimming, Olympic-level drama, let's not forget about the regular high school swimmers who work just as hard in the pool, and would have to pick up extra hours at their starbucks jobs just to afford these suits. Or the parents who would have to get a second job at Starbucks to buy them for their 12 year old.

On another note, it's amazing that with some of the statements they have made, FINA and/or the IOC aren't nailed with anti-trust lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

"Some professional swimmers are now swimming for suit companies for less than $15,000 a year. A swimmer could make more working at Starbucks or a tech support call center, instead they chose swimming and it is my opinion they should have more opportunities or at least make half as much as Eddie Reese or Mark Schubert."

Ironic that most of those swimmers wanted an end to tech suits, no?

Is this because they a) in practice have things other than money they care more about or b) they didn't make the link between tech suits, world records and their income?

Starbucks and call centres have higher value and demand placed on them than swimming. Le capitalism.

Tony Austin said...

I do believe that no tech suits means less sponsorship funds since I have talked to the marketing people at the suit companies.

I am biased towards tech suits, I respect your counter opinion but I disagree. Perhaps age groupers swim by 2010 rules and the pros swim by possible new tech suit rules down the road?

As for FINA and the IOC, throw the NCAA and all the governing bodies in with that group as well.

Tony Austin said...

The anon who quoted me: You raise a good point. Perhaps I m presuming what swimmers want via my own point of view or what I would want?

Geoffrey said...


I believe a lot of your visitors come to your site in order to get a fresh perspective on the sport. depending on what site you go to-craig lord a journalist's perspective, swimming_world a newspaper/publication recount of the facts, etc... When I initially started reading this blog I was happy to see a semi-regular perspective on the news/meets from a masters' swimmer. Unfortunately, lately (last 4-6 months) it seems the vast majority of your postings are either craig lord bashing (seriously get over him already), tech suit love (hasn't that ship sailed long ago?), or critiques of phelps with over-the-top rhetoric (I understand your stir-the-pot style of blogging is intended to invite commentary, but it should be clear you take it too far). My humble request: please cool it w/ the above crap that doesn't add anything to your site, and get back to what brought a lot of us here in the first place. My visits have become less frequent, and I wish that wasn't the case as there are already so few sites to choose from.

Tony Austin said...

Thanks for the constructive criticism, I will post more masters stuff.

I recommend you check out

Braden K. said...

Tony, while we may not see eye-to-eye on the suit issue, I definitely respect the way you handle criticism.

So if only certain groups got to wear the suits, would we then create different suited and non-suited time standards? And would there be "suited only" meets and "non suited only" meets, or would someone have to go around and track who swam what in which suit? I can see that as a paperwork nightmare.

Tony Austin said...

Thank you for the nice words. :-)

Here is the deal. Sometimes you can have A morally correct answer; (banning tech suits), but still get the wrong result; (Less money to grow the sport and generate excitement.)

I will concede that banning suits is a moral and ethical solution but I don't like the result. (There is an athlete out there who is sponsored by a company for $0.00 right now. I kid you not!)

Every solution is nothing more than a new problem. Take these life enhancing technologies for an example: Fossil fuels, nuclear fission, the internet.

Problems they created:
Fossil fuels = pollution/warming
Nuclear Fission: bombs/waste
Internet: Pedophiles/scams/isolation

But having all of the above resulted in a higher standard of living.

I believe age-groupers should wear jammers, adults, meaning Masters and those competing at the adult level such as the NCAA level or international competition can use suits.

That should simplify paperwork.

TedBaker said...

"I will concede that banning suits is a moral and ethical solution but I don't like the result."

Nobody said that doing the right thing was easy.

It's been my experience that something built on a strong moral / ethical foundation stands are far greater chance of lasting and providing benefit over the long run.

Conversely, those ideas / plans that start morally and/or ethically flawed might provide a short term fix; they always - at some point - end in tears.

Tony Austin said...

Chess has maintained it's integrity for a zillion years and it's user base is practically invisible. They use to televise chess games and have chess problems in the paper. No more!

Swimming needs an economic engine to grow. If it does not grow, more programs will close and pools will be filled and made into tennis courts.

Look at swim programs and public pools across the country. They are diminishing because of the cost to run, title 9, and the lack of interest.

We need to build interest. You need an economic engine to do that.