Open Water Swimming Epicenter Shifts To Egypt
FINA is the world’s governing body for swimming and, by far, the most powerful force in the aquatics world. FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur) oversees the aquatic disciples for pool swimming, open water swimming, water polo, synchronized swimming, diving and high diving.
FINA is run by professional management headquartered out of Lausanne, Switzerland and managed by a number of committees staffed by knowledgeable volunteers selected from the global aquatic community.
In the open water swimming discipline, FINA’s Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC) sets the standards, manages the rules, and serves as lead officials for everything from the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim to local open water swimming clinics offered around the world. It is, bar none, the most powerful governing body for the open water swimming community. Its influence runs from the Olympics and world championships down to the open water swimming rules and protocols accepted and used by FINA’s 202 member organizations (countries).
TOWSC is an 18-member volunteer group, managed by Dennis Miller and its 4-member ruling body called the FINA Open Water Swimming Commission. The TOWSC volunteers are nominated by their respective national federations and approved by the FINA Executive Bureau under the direction of Cornel Marculescu. Each member serves four-year terms, but can be repeatedly re-elected. Like any international body, the dynamics of the group is largely dependent on the influence of individual members.
While active open water swimming nations like Argentina (Fernando Terrilli, U.S.A. (Sid Cassidy), France (Jean Paul Narce, Italy (Andrea Prayer), Great Britain (Samuel Greetham, Australia (William Ford), New Zealand (John West), and Brazil (Christiane Fanzeres) are represented by experienced open water swimming veterans, the committee is also represented by smaller and less active nations (Hong Kong, Ecuador, Kenya, Angola, Cuba, Israel, Faroe Islands, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Fiji) in order to give it a truly international scope.
But one nation is now standing out among the rest: Egypt.
Since 1991, TOWSC has reportedly never had 2 members of its committee from the same country. But with Ayman Saad and the recently appointed Abdulmonem Alalawi on FINA’s TOWSC, Egypt’s influence is now arguably even greater than any other country – and even greater than in its heyday during the 1950s and throughout the Abdul Latif Abou Heif era.
For a country long proud of its marathon swimming roots and its focus on the success and safety of its athletes, the spotlight is now on Egypt to renew its passionate leadership and thoughtful influence on the open water swimming world.
The 2013-2017 FINA TOWSC members include:
FINA Bureau Liaison is Dennis Miller of Fiji
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Southern California native, born 1962, is the creator of the WOWSA Awards, Oceans Seven, Openwaterpedia, Citrus Corps, World Open Water Swimming Association, Daily News of Open Water Swimming, Global Open Water Swimming Conference. He is Chief Executive Officer of KAATSU Global and KAATSU Research Institute. Inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Honor Swimmer, Class of 2001) and Ice Swimming Hall of Fame (Honor Contributor – Media, Class of 2019), recipient of the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s Poseidon Award (2016), International Swimming Hall of Fame’s Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award (2010), USA Swimming’s Glen S. Hummer Award (2007, 2010) and Harvard University’s John B. Imrie Award (1984). Served on the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee and as Technical Delegate with the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, and 9-time USA Swimming coaching staff.