The Week That Was: ISL Adds Copycat Charge to FINA Lawsuit

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Coronavirus outbreak in China has dominated the headlines around the world in the last couple of weeks and has even affected the swimming community, causing FINA to cancel the Diving World Cup in early March that was set to take place in China. Two-time reigning World champion Xu Jiayu also announced he was donating his lucrative prize money earnings from the FINA Champions Series to fight the virus that has claimed over 400 lives.

Gary Hall, Jr. also called on FINA to take precautionary measures with Olympic test events that are to take place in the coming months in neighboring country Japan. The virus has spread to other parts of the world, including a handful of Asian countries so it will be better to be safe than sorry with the virus, even in Japan.

Read below the five biggest stories in the Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #5: Michael Klim to be Inducted into International Swimming Hall of Fame

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Michael Klim – Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

By Meg Keller-Marvin

Michael Klim has been called the best relay swimmer ever.  He is a three-time Olympian, multi-time world champion and 21-time world record holder.  1998 was Klim’s year in the sun. In January, the FINA World Aquatics Championships were held in Perth, Western Australia, and in front of a boisterous home crowd, he was the leading swimmer of the meet. He triumphed in the 200m freestyle and the 100m butterfly, added silver in the 100m freestyle and bronze in the 50m freestyle. He was a member of each of Australia’s three relay teams, winning gold in the 4×200m freestyle relay and 4×100m medley relay, and a silver in the 4×100m freestyle relay.

Come and meet Klim in person and hear his incredible life story at the ISHOF Induction dinner on Saturday, April 25, 2020.

#4: Louise Hansson, Erik Persson Selected Early For Swedish Olympic Team

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Louise Hansson will be swimming in her second Olympics this summer. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Andy Ross

The Swedish Olympic Committee has pre-selected six athletes to represent the nation at the 2020 Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo. Two swimmers Louise Hansson and Erik Persson were among those athletes selected. Both of them will be making return trips to the Games after making their debuts in Rio in 2016.

Both Hansson and Persson made the final at the World Championships in their respective best events with Hansson getting seventh in the 100 fly and Persson getting eighth in the 200 breast. They will not need to rest for the Swedish Open in April and will be able to save a full rest for the Olympic Games in 176 days.

Those two have added their name to the Swedish Olympic swim team that now has three members, with superstar Sarah Sjostrom being the third to have already qualified.

The Week That Was #3: Xu Jiayu to Donate FINA Champions Series Prize Money to Fight Coronavirus

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Xu Jiayu stands on top of the podium at the World Championships for the 100 backstroke. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Swimming World Staff

Xu Jiayu, the World 100m backstroke champion from China, has donated US$10,000 of prize money earned from racing last month to hospitals fighting the coronavirus.

Xu’s 10k was earned at the FINA Champions Swim Series held in Beijing and Shenzhen last month just as the coronavirus outbreak took off on the eve of a decision to lock down Wuhan and other cities. Both Beijing and Shenzhen had cases of infection on their hands as swimmers, coaches and others prepared to leave China after the swim series.

The news was delivered in a social-media post by Xu himself, picked up by a Chinese swimming fans group.

The Coronavirus outbreak also caused FINA to cancel the Diving World Cup set to take place in Suzhou in early March.

#2: Gary Hall Jr. Calls On FINA To Adopt ‘Precautionary Steps’ As Coronavirus Hits Tokyo 2020 Olympic Preparations

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Gary Hall Jr. – Photo Courtesy: Mike Aaron

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

As the spread of the coronavirus forces Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organizers to reshuffle the schedule of test events on the way to the main show in July, Gary Hall Jr has urged FINA not to fall into the same pattern of behavior that he sees as having contributed to the death of Fran Crippen and illness among other swimmers.

The Olympic 50m freestyle champion of 2000 and 2004 tells The Washington Post:

“The safety and health of the athletes are of foremost importance. If there are any precautionary steps that can be taken to put them out of harm’s way, we have to do it.”

Hall, using his agency and Athlete Voice, cited cases in which FINA, the international regulator for aquatic sports, was not what the Post referred to as “aggressive enough in protecting its athletes from environmental hazards — whether excessive heat, pollution or virus”.

Several swimmers fell seriously ill after competing in the open-water test event for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games because of pollution in the bay, Hall noted.

Of late, calls from the open water community and safety advocates to have the Tokyo 2020 marathon swim venue shifted north in the same way that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 organisers have move the marathons for runners and walkers to avoid the risks associated with extreme heat.

The Week That Was #1: International Swimming League Updates Legal Claims With Copycat Charges Against FINA

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Shields, et al. v. FINA, Case No. 18-cv-07393, International Swimming League, Ltd. v. FINA, Case No. 18-cv-07394, Katinka Hosszu, Tom Shields, Michael Andrew – Photo Courtesy: Main image, court ragout; side images, in descending order, Hosszu, arena; Shields and Andrew, Peter Bick

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

The International Swimming League has officially added a copycat charge to its complaints against FINA in the latest developments in its legal action at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The process is in its relative infancy yet: a formal discovery process is now underway, a trial scheduled for January 2022.

On December 16 last year, the court denied FINA’s motion to dismiss the cases brought by the ISL and, in parallel action, triple Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu, of Hungary, and USA teamsters Tom Shields and Michael Andrew, in 2018.

Updated claims lodged with the court 10 days ago include ISL’s view that FINA misappropriated the League’s format by aligning its competition and prize schedules to those already announced by the ISL.

FINA has three weeks to answer the claims, which chronology stretches to this: a charge of hindsight that attempted to circumnavigate the legal challenge in play. Only when the ISL initiated a legal challenge did FINA withdraw threats of sanctions against national governing bodies if they did not in turn impose sanctions on swimmers under their jurisdiction for associating themselves with a non-affiliated organisation, namely the League.