The Future of Aquatic Governance Rests On Three Visions

Photo Left To Right: Paolo Barelli, John Leonard, Julio Maglione Courtesy of Swimming World Magazine

Much has been written, discussed, and argued over the past few years concerning the future governance of Aquatic Sports within the Olympic movement. On July 22, the Fédération internationale de natation (FINA) will elect a new president. Soon thereafter on September 1, a constitution will be voted on by swim coaches around the world to empower a new governing body called the World Swimming Association. Much is at stake, including trust, transparency and leadership.

Swimming World boiled down the three visions that are currently being talked about within the swimming community.

There are three key players with each presenting a different vision

Julio Maglione, FINA President, who is up for re-election and wants to keep FINA moving forward.

Paolo Barelli, President of the Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN), who wants to bring new leadership and vision

John Leonard, Executive Director of the American Swim Coaches Association and the World Swimming Coaches Association, who has the directive to start a new governing body to replace FINA.

Swimming World takes you inside the visionary platform of each so that the swimming community can judge for themselves on how the Aquatic Community should move forward.

Julio Maglione — Build on Accomplishments And Make Promises For The Future


Photo Courtesy: FINA Kazan 2015

Julio César Maglione is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from Uruguay. He has been an IOC member since 1996. Maglione is the current President of the Uruguayan Olympic Committee (Comité Olímpico Uruguayo, COU), and has held the position since 1987. In July 2009, he was elected President of FINA and has held that position to date. FINA changed its bylaws to extend the age limit beyond 80 so that Maglione could remain in office for multiple terms.

FINA Accomplishments (Outlined By Maglione)

  • For the first time in the 121-year history of the modern Olympic Games, FINA will be the International Federation with the highest number (49) of medal events.
  • Aquatics, with its five disciplines, is the #1 sport in terms of Olympic television broadcast viewership and also leader in terms of online reach, according to the IOC.
  • We have improved the financial assistance to the National Federations, their athletes and officials taking part at the FINA World Championships, and we have also increased the amount of prize money paid to the best athletes in the competition.
  • The number of national federations who managed to qualify at least one swimmer with “A” or “B” Olympic standard time, increased from 82 in London 2012 to 108 in Rio 2016.
  • We have substantially raised our financial contribution to the Development areas, and many initiatives are now included in the program: scholarships for promising young athletes, coach certification programs, and seminars, clinics and schools for coaches and officials.
  • FINA has recently undertaken decisive steps in a new and very important initiative: the “Swimming for All, Swimming for Life” project (to prevent drownings).
  • The FINA website was rebuilt and is now presenting a more friendly and fan-based approach.
  • Our FINA MAGAZINE is now available everywhere, anytime, on every mobile platform.
  • In September 2016, we (will) move to our new location in Lausanne. For the first time, we have our own headquarters. It will be officially opened in a few months, with the presence of all our members. It is the FINA House, the house of all our Federations. Our, Your House.
  • FINA has achieved solid financial success in the last years.

Future FINA Promises (Outlined By Maglione)

  • We are 100 percent determined to eradicate doping from our sport. We are proud to say that FINA remains at the forefront of this battle.
  • FINA will remain in close relation with both the IOC and WADA to provide a programme that meets the highest standards within international sport.
  • In a spirit of democracy and transparency, we have also progressed in the fields of good governance and integrity.
  • A Code of Ethics and an Ethics Panel were created to revise all internal procedures and solve matters connected with violation of integrity principles.
  • A new Finance Committee and Audit Committee will be established, and will include recognised and experienced members on these matters.
  • The Ethics Panel will be, as we are proposing, an independent body elected by the Congress.
  • FINA is especially committed to raise the level of financial support to its Federations in the areas of administration and technology.
  • We will seek additional ways to fund athletes’ participation in FINA events, especially at junior level in competitions such as the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships.

The above points were extracted from Maglione public letters in English, French and Spanish.

Paolo Barelli — Time For Leadership Change


Photo Courtesy: LEN

Paolo Barelli has a long history with the sport of swimming. A competitive swimmer at a young age, Barelli represented Italy at both the 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympic Games, breaking 23 Italian records in several events throughout his career. He was elected president of the Italian Swimming Federation (FIN) in 2000 and Honorary Secretary of FINA for the 2009-13 term. In October of 2012, Barelli was elected the president of LEN, a position that he still holds today.

Barelli emerged as a candidate for the FINA Presidency in May of 2017 and followed up his announcement of candidacy by releasing his Manifesto, which outlines seven main points to ensure the success of FINA.

In addition to his six-page Manifesto, Barelli has penned two newsletters so far, further elaborating on the main points of his Manifesto. Read hi his first newsletter by clicking here and his second newsletter here.

Main Points of the Manifesto

  • Support to Federations for International Activities
  • Support to Federations for Development and for Continental/Regional Activity
  • FINA World Cup, FINA World League and other FINA Events
  • FINA Event Allocation
  • Good Governance and Transparency
  • The Fight Against Doping
  • Capitalizing on Experience

Barelli’s Manifesto can be read in full (in English) here.

Start New Organization Called World Swimming Association


The World Swimming Association (WSA) is an idea born in Sept. 2015 to address the failure of the existing world bodies to fairly, openly, and honestly administer our sport and provide for our athletes. After 11 decades of failure to become athlete-centered, the WSCA Coaches decided that it was time to develop something NEW.

The World Swimming Association’s purpose is to provide an organization for swimming that is Athlete CenteredAdministratively Transparent, and Professionally Managed.

  • Executive committee selection will be more democratic–fairer.
  • Swimming Sport interests will be represented much better.
  • Swimming Sport will have a better opportunity to grow & develop.
  • Less room for favoritism and corruption.


Swimming World will be following these important events as decisions are made and the future of Aquatic Sports becomes clearer.

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Author: Brent Rutemiller

Publisher of Swimming World Magazine

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