- 4 Jul 2017 10:00 AM
Dear Fellow Swimmers,
Many things can change in sports in a span of two weeks, not only races and championships, but careers as well. In Rio it took roughly a week to award all the medals of the Olympic swimming competition, and the same will happen in the World Championships this year in Budapest.
In the last two weeks I’ve learnt an important lesson: this amount of time could be enough for an entire sport to start heading into a completely new direction.
I was hoping that my last letter would have a light bulb effect for many of you, but even I underestimated the rate at which everything would happen. I do not mean the fact that the press would quickly jump on the topic, or that many people who were never interested in swimming will start asking questions about the sport, but I mean the speed and ease at which all of us, the swimmers, have started to come together as one.
As I believed, many of us were on the same page, well aware of the problems of today’s swimming. We had the same way of thinking when it came down to finding solutions to those issues.
Even if we had remained silent until now, most of us were not only ready to openly talk about the problems, but ready to act in order to reform the sport of swimming, even if those changes might be against our own personal interests.
This whole movement has immediately eliminated many of our dividing lines, with different nationalities, languages, time-zones and cultures all coming together as one. We are proud to announce that with more than 30 members, including 15 Olympic champions, the Global Association of Professional Swimmers (GAPS) is coming to life today, with its members already representing all the continents of the globe. Our goal is to have more members and to listen to all of you.
GAPS will make it possible for us to jointly represent the interest of the professional swimmers, to have a clear view on what is happening today in the sport of swimming, and to have a chance to influence the future development of our sport.
We now rightfully expect that leaders of FINA will give us a seat at the table. We expect swimmers to be treated as equal partners. We expect that they will sit down and start talking to us. We expect that they will listen to the voice of the professional swimmers and we expect to have a say in important decisions about the future of our sport.
You can join and share your opinion with us on http://swimmingprofessionals.org.
And when the time comes, we will be able to represent the best interests of the entire professional swimming community as one.
Current members: Jessica Ashwood, Australia Bronte Campbell, Australia Cate Campbell, Australia Madison Wilson, Australia Pieter Timmers, Belgium Bruno Fratus, Brazil Hilary Caldwell, Canada Pernille Blume, Denmark Jeanette Ottesen, Denmark Rikke Pedersen, Denmark Camile Lacourt, France Anna Santamans, France Marco Koch, Germany James Guy, Great Britain Adam Peaty, Great Britain Katinka Hosszú, Hungary Luca Dotto, Italy Kosuke Hagino, Japan Femke Heemskerk, Netherlands Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Netherlands Kira Toussaint, Netherlands Sharon Van Rouwendaal, Netherlands Ferry Weertman, Netherlands Michelle Coleman, Sweden Jennie Johansson, Sweden Sarah Sjöström, Sweden Cameron Van Der Burgh, South Africa Conor Dwyer, USA Katie Meili, USA Lia Neal, USA
Budapest and Balatonfüred are hosting the FINA world championships between July 14 and 30.
Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.
MTI photo: Mohai Balázs