Hosszú forms pro swimmer association, targets FINA

History

Hungarian Olympic swimming champion Katinka Hosszú has established an association for professional swimmers, recruiting 30 members already, with the intention of giving athletes more say in how the sport is run, according to Reuters.

(Photo: Katinka Hosszúʼs official Facebook page)

According to Reuters, the Hungarian swimmer will boycott global competitions if necessary.

“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,” Hosszú posted on her official Facebook page yesterday. “GAPS will make it possible for us to jointly represent the interest of the professional swimmers, to have a clear view of what is happening today in the sport of swimming, and to have a chance to influence the future development of our sport,” she adds.

“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,” Hosszú adds.

Hosszú has in the past expressed criticism of both the Hungarian swimming association and FINA, and wrote an open letter to the world body on June 21 arguing against a new limit set by it on the number of World Cup disciplines in which a swimmer can compete. Hosszú, who has dominated women’s swimming lately, has apparently been angered by the limit, as her training technique has long involved participating in as many competitions as possible.

“Why does FINA make rules that are harmful for the athletes, the organizers of the competition, the World Cup itself and swimming as a whole?” the swimmer asked in the post. “These rules are risking the future of our sport, which I am not willing to support with my silence,” she adds.

“How can a sport label rules ‘innovative’ when they are actually destructive, limiting the participation of the sport’s top athletes? Will the NBA limit one of its biggest stars, LeBron James, in his eighth participation in the big final next year? Will the ATP try to remind Nadal and Federer that their time is over?” the swimmer argues.

A spokesperson for FINA, the global swimming body, declined to comment on Reuters’ question in relation to Hosszú’s criticism. FINA director Cornel Marculescu last month said Hosszuʼs call for action was an “anti-FINA open letter”, Reuters said.

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