The Race Goes On
But the complaints and planned non-participation by the American elite swimmers apparently have little influence over the rest of the global open water swimming community. Governing bodies around the world plan to attend and support the event organized by race director Ayman Saad.
In a year where the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim finalists are being selected in Kazan, Russia, national governing bodies have judged it is vitally important for their athletes to compete as much as possible against top competition. Despite the symbolism of enabling Saad to organize a race in a part of the world where he previously organized the only FINA competition in history where an athlete died, the importance of head-to-head competition is key.
Few governing bodies, administrators or coaches outside USA Swimming want to upset FINA by so blatantly boycotting a FINA-sanctioned race.
Since the death of Fran Crippen in the 2010 race organized by Saad, only Dutch coach Marcel Wouda publicly complained about open water conditions and pulled his athlete from a FINA event (world champion Linsy Heister at the 2011 FINA World Swimming Championships in Shanghai). It takes a lot of confidence – based on strongly held principles – to make such a public statement and maintain a stance against FINA.
Copyright © 2015 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.