The Week That Was: FINA Eases Restrictions On Non-Approved Meets

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This week FINA eased up on their restrictions for athletes competing in non-approved FINA events after months of controversy over the potential of suspensions related to the rise of the International Swimming League. Read about that decision and more of the biggest news of the week in the week that was!

The Week That Was #5 – FINA Creates New ‘Champions Swim Series’

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Photo Courtesy: FINA

FINA has announced a new event, the “Champions Swim Series,” a three-leg circuit that will travel to China, Hungary, and the United States. In a statement from FINA, the organization invited 45 male and 37 female competitors from 17 different countries to take part in the circuit. The circuit will run from April through June, and all meets will be swum in a 50-meter pool. While FINA states it has invited a list that includes world record holders, Olympic medalists, and World Champions, the organization did not list the names of those athletes who will be participating. Additionally, a new prize money structure was announced, a probable reaction to the demand from athletes in the newly formed ISL. You can read FINA’s official statement on the series here.

The Week That Was #4 – Cullen Jones Expecting A Baby Girl In 2019

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Two-time Olympian Cullen Jones and his wife, Rupi Jones, have announced via social media that they are expecting a baby in 2019. Jones began to make a name for himself during his collegiate years (2003-2006) with the North Carolina State Wolfpack, before turning pro and signing with Nike in the summer of 2006. That was also the year the young sprinter set a meet record in the 50-meter free (21.84) at the Pan Pacific Championships and contributed to the then-world record 400 free relay with famed teammates Michael Phelps, Neil Walker, and Jason Lezak. The same four teammates would take home the gold in the same relay one year later at the 2007 World Championships. Jones made his first Olympic team in 2008 and was a member of the famous 400 free relay with teammates Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, and Lezak. On his second Olympic team (2012), Jones collected silver medals in the 50 free and the 400 free relay, while also earning a gold medal for swimming on the preliminary team for the men’s 400 medley relay.

The Week That Was #3 – Daniel Branon Breaks Phelps’ Records At Speedo Winter Invite

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Photo Courtesy: Frank Genderson

Daniel Branon took down a pair of Michael Phelps’ 10 and under meet records at the 2019 Speedo Winter Invitational at Rutgers University. The 10-year old NBAC swimmer took down Phelps’ records in the 50 and 100 butterfly, both of which had stood since 1995. Other notable swims from the weekend included Olympic Trials cuts for 14-year olds Natalie Mannion and Tess Howley and 16-year old Dylan Rhee. You can see all the coverage of the 2019 Speedo Winter Invitational, including results, interviews, and race videos, by clicking here.

The Week That Was #2 – Rikke Moller Pedersen Announces Retirement

Photo Courtesy: Joao Marc Bosch

World-record holder Rikke Moller Pedersen of Denmark officially announced her retirement on her Instagram account this week. Moller Pedersen currently holds the world record in the long course 200 breaststroke (2:19.11), which she set in the semi-finals at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona. Moller Pedersen most recently won a bronze medal as part of Denmark’s 400 medley relay.

The Week That Was #1 – FINA Eases Rules On Athletes Participating In Non-FINA Meets

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This week FINA released a clarification on their rules regarding athlete participation in international events that are non-FINA approved meets. The decision comes after several high profile swimmers committed to the newly formed International Swimming League (ISL) despite claims from FINA that participation in non-FINA approved meets could result in a two-year suspension. In response Katinka Hosszu, Michael Andrew, and Tom Shields sued FINA for anti-trust violations in December, while big names around the world, including Adam Peaty and Cate Campbell, publicly supported the ISL before meeting in London to discuss the lawsuit. In their issued statement, the organization seemingly backtracked on their earlier threats, stating athletes would be allowed to participate in non-FINA events: “FINA recognises the right of athletes to participate in any swimming event. However, this participation should respect the frame of sport structure. FINA’s business is not to punish athletes, although if the FINA rules are not met, the results of the competition will not be recognised by FINA”.

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