Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hello Swimming Enthusiasts

Special mid-week edition…

Hello Swimming Enthusiasts,

We thought we’d give you an update on how the world of swimming is changing and how you can make your voice heard going forward.

Many of you are aware of FIFA – the world’s soccer organization – and the fiduciary scandals that have ground that organization to nearly a halt. The impact on the world soccer game is enormous.

Many of you are aware that FINA is our sport’s world governing body. FINA has many similar issues to FIFA. The primary ones are lack of transparency in decision making processes and an unwillingness to share financial records.

FINA has an approximate income of $45,000,000 – yup – 45M – annually. This money comes from sale of TV rights plus sponsorship money. FINA distributes approximately $2,000,000 to the athletes. The obvious question is, where does the rest go? FINA is unwilling to share that information.

So, a group of well-respected swimming sport leaders and coaches have agreed to begin a worldwide organization to represent the athletes and coaches who actually earn the 45M. The WSA – World Swimming Association – has already begun organizational efforts and recruitment of key personnel. Under the proposed charter the United States will have 3 seats. Those 3 seats will be occupied by George Block, current head of the World Swimming Coaches Assn, John Leonard, the several decades Executive Director of the American Swimming Coaches Assn, and Bob Bowman, the 2016 Men’s Olympic Coach (lifetime coach of Michael Phelps).

It is the aim of the WSA to be athlete centric and fully transparent with respect to decision making and all matters financial. It is time to give the sport back to those who make it so compelling: THE ATHLETES. There are discussions of a World Tour, similar to tennis and golf. The overwhelming majority of the funds earned go  to the athletes. Think Serena Williams. If it works for her to play in the Olympics and take a crack at a medal then sure, she’ll give it a go. But what is really important to her is Wimbledon; the French, Australian and US Opens and all the other tour stops that pay big money.

Golf and tennis are big time entertainment businesses, that happen to use a sport as the delivery vehicle. The golfers have their tour – the PGA. Swimmers will soon have their tour as well.

It is a long overdue change and it is happening now. Why? Follow the money…pretty simple.

Please see the attached article and you can get a sense of how our sport has changed. It changes regularly by the efforts of the coaches and athletes who make it so compelling, so watchable. Need proof? Check the Olympic viewing data. The general population wants to know what great feat Michael Phelps will accomplish next. All girls swimming want to watch Katie Ledecky. She will capture a lot of attention this summer…and so it goes.

Check out the article below to get a great appreciation for all things swimming!

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