Mainstone Rhys To The Occasion In Hong Kong

Mainstone Rhys To The Occasion In Hong Kong

Australian Rhys Mainstone may have been disappointed that he was not able to realize his Olympic dreams in 2012, but he is totally focused on not missing the next opportunity in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

He is focused. And he is fast.

Very very fast. And smart. And getting smarter and more strategic.

Mainstone upset a number of Olympians and world champions, including Thomas Lurz and Spyridon Gianniotis, yesterday to win the last stage of the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup in Hong Kong.

Unfortunately, it is hard – impossible – to obtain the results, photos, videos or any information from FINA about Mainstone’s victory. Moments after divers complete their last dive in a FINA competition; moments after the final horn has been sounded in a FINA water polo game; moments after a swimmer’s hand touches the wall in a FINA competition; moments after the scores have been posted for a synchronized swimmer, FINA and its officials work immediately go into action and inform the global aquatics community about the places, times and scores of its competitions.

Especially in this era of social media and instantaneous global communications, it is literally a matter of minutes before families, friends and fans learn the results of a FINA-sanctioned competition. FINA, its staff and its local organizers work fast and furious to get that information out to the public and media in order to feed the interest in aquatic sports.

Alas that passion and systematic distribution of information is sadly lacking in FINA’s fifth – and obviously last – discipline of open water swimming.

It takes at least a day and sometimes more for FINA to publish the top 3 results from its FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup and FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix races. Although times are attached in a time-delayed press release, the places and times are only made available for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd finishers. No times or places are made available for any of the other 20, 30, 40 or 50+ swimmers.

Nothing, nada, zilch.

We find this lack of information very unfortunate – and very fixable.

While there appears to be no complaints from FINA’s 202 member national governing bodies to provide or publish any open water swimming results, we know for a fact that there are tens of thousands of fans, friends and families around the world who are dying for immediate information of each and every FINA open water swimming competition. These individuals have to piece together information from Facebook and Twitter to find out who finished where.

In other words, the information and distribution of results have become the de facto responsibility of the swimmers themselves. No press agent, no PR firm, and no FINA officials provide these results that are easily obtainable from the local organizer.

So while Mainstone pulled off an upset victory in one of the world’s iconic cities against an outstanding field of the world’s elite open water swimmers, few people know about it. What was his time? How did he plan his race? What were the times of the other swimmers? What did the course look like? And what were the results of the women’s race?

Nothing, nada, zilch.

It does not take much to resolve this situation. A simple email, a quick fax, a short phone call to someone, anyone, could resolve this total vacuum of information – and every fan would be happier for the effort. But requiring this action does take a decision by Cornel Marculescu, FINA’s Executive Director, to get the process in motion. It is Marculescu – and Marculescu alone – who has the authority to resolve this situation. He has the power; he is the decision-maker; it is under his direction that the situation could be dramatically improved.

Marculescu’s decision could make the sport of open water swimming not only in line with the other aquatic disciplines under his command, but a decision to provide immediate information would also help develop the sport and satisfy the expectations of multitudes of fans in hundreds of countries who are waiting anxiously for information on FINA open water swims.

Footnote: Mainstone posted this simple report on Facebook, “Hong kong world cup winner very happy with race first international win bring on shantou…” Congratulations to this Australian up-and-comer who won a silver medal in the 2011 FINA World Swimming Championships in the 5km Team Pursuit race. We just hoped more people would know about his victory and his dreams for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Results from the women’s race and FINA’s press release on the top 3 swimmers will be forthcoming…

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones