In December this year, Windsor will host the Federation Internationale De Natation (FINA) 13th World Championships, Short Course, at its east end arena. Windsor could be the last hurrah for a Federation that may be on the brink of dissolution.
There has not been a major FINA swimming competition in North America since Indianapolis hosted the Short Course in 2004. It is highly unlikely there will be another in the United States, especially a major FINA event.
Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming’s Executive Director, told Swimming World on February 18 last year that his organization, “… would love to host a long course world championships in the United States, but the economic requirements make it impossible for us to seriously consider.”
Faced with few North American cities showing interest, after Guadalajara, Mexico, dropped out of hosting its 2017 marquis championship, FINA has largely focused on dealing with non-democratic countries.
John Leonard, of the World Swimming Coaches Associations told Swimming World on February 18, 2015, that FINA has, “… inflated the price of a world championships beyond what any democracy would consider prudent to pay for a sports event.”
FINA will be mired forever into using facilities in autocratic countries where a ruling elite can make a decision to over-spend for the ‘sporting prestige’ of hosting such an event, which means that FINA and the democracies are finished with each other.
He went on expressing displeasure about, “… an organization charged with representing all of us now truly works only with the autocracies.”
Being locked out of North America could signal FINA’s demise as a world organization. Particularly, as Swim Vortex reported on September 3 last year, with new competitors, “… circling around and could take over its monopoly in co-ordinating international swimming, including the newly formed World Swimming Association (WSA) and the Professional Swimmers Association.”
Swimming World, on October 6, 2015 noted the WSA is, “… in the early stages of establishing a new entity as a credible alternative to FINA when it comes to governing swimming and open water events.”
Last year, when SwimSwam reported on June 2 about Lake Magog, QC, cancelling an open water FINA championship, Rob Kent invited the town to join the new Global Swim Series (GSS). He talked of it having, “… a much more inclusive business plan (ie much less expensive for races to join, $99 vs $15,000) and a much more inclusive philosophy about trying to bring together as many open water races and swimmers from around the world as possible.”
Kent should know the fees. He is GSS president.
Toronto will get to see the GSS in action this September when it hosts the organization’s first North American Championship. On its website, GSS says the best open water swimmers will be there including, “… Olympians, NCAA Champions, CIS Champions, Marathon Swimmers and Ironmen.”
Mexico has also embraced the GSS.
In February, its Ruta del Arrecife, a FINA Grand Prix race in 2013, was taken over by the new outfit.
Has Windsor tied its horse to a very expensive, but declining organization? The caution signs seem to be there.