Images courtesy of NBCOlympics.com of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.

The frustrations and observation of disqualified British Olympian Jack Burnell of the officiating at the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim were posted here.

We believe it would be useful and justifiably right if the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC) members would collectively and carefully listen to – and implement – the recommendations and concrete proposals of the world’s leading open water swimmers like Burnell and all his male and female colleagues.

We strongly believe it would be extremely useful and beneficial if the national swimming federations that actually participate in the FINA-sanctioned competitions proposed rule changes or new rules to the support the frustrations of both coaches and athletes.

We researched the relationship between the countries of the FINA TOWSC decision-makers and the countries that qualified swimmers to compete in the 10 km marathon swims in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

The FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee include of the following members:

*Ronnie Wong of Hong Kong, Chairman
*Jorge Delgado Panchana of Ecuador, Vice Chairman
*Andrea Prayer of Italy, Honorary Secretary
*Joaquim Pestana Costa of Angola
*David Ngugi of Kenya
*Fernando Terrilli of Argentina
*Tomas Haces German of Cuba
*Sid Cassidy of USA
*Abdulmonem Al Alawi of Oman
*Mubarak Abdulla Al Zahmi of United Arab Emirates
*Jean Paul Narce of France
*Samuel Greetham of Great Britain
*Noam Zwi of Israel
*William Ford of Australia

*John West of New Zealand
*Christiane Fanzeres of Brazil
*Ayman Saad of Egypt
*Jon Hestoy of Faroe Islands
*Dennis Miller of Fiji, FINA Bureau Liaison

How many swimmers from these countries qualified for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swims?

Italy: 7 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 2 men in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
USA: 7 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 2 men in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Brazil: 7 (1 man in 2008 + 2 women in 2008 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 2 woman in 2016)
Great Britain: 7 (1 man in 2008 + 2 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
France: 6 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Australia: 6 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Egypt: 4 (1 man in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Argentina: 3 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 woman in 2012)
Ecuador: 3 (1 man in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
New Zealand: 1 (note: 1 man qualified in 2012 + 1 woman qualified in 2016, but New Zealand did not allow them to participate)
Hong Kong: 1 (1 woman in 2012)
Angola: 0
Kenya: 0
Cuba: 0
Oman: 0
United Arab Emirates: 0
Israel: 0 (note: 1 man qualified in 2008, but Israel did not allow him to participate)
Faroe Islands: 0
Fiji: 0

But more importantly, what countries have qualified athletes in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics, but are not represented in TOWSC?

Russia: 8 (2 men in 2008 + 1 man in 2008 + 2 men in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Germany: 7 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 2 men in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
South Africa: 6 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Venezuela: 6 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Greece: 6 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Hungary: 6 1 man in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 2 women in 2016)
Spain: 5 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 woman in 2016)
China: 5 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Netherlands: 4 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Ukraine: 4 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012)
Portugal: 4 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2016)
Czech Republic: 4 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 woman in 2016)
Japan: 4 (1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Canada: 4 (1 man in 2012 + 1 woman in 2012 + 1 man in 2016 + 1 woman in 2016)
Bulgaria: 3 (1 man in 2008 + 1 man in 2012 + 1 man in 2016)
Mexico: 3 (1 man in 2008 + 1 woman in 2008 + 1 woman in 2012)
Belgium: 2 (1 man in 2008 + 1 man in 2012)
Slovenia: 2 (1 woman in 2008 + 1 woman in 2016)
Poland: 2 (1 woman in 2012 + 1 woman in 2016)
Malaysia: 2 (1 woman in 2012 + 1 woman in 2016)
Tunisia: 2 (1 man in 2012 + 1 man in 2016)
Kazakhstan: 2 (1 man in 2012 + 1 man in 2016)
Syria: 1 (1 man in 2008)
Switzerland: 1 (1 woman in 2008)
Sweden: 1 (1 woman in 2008)
Chile: 1 (1 woman in 2008)
Croatia: 1 (1 woman in 2012)
Switzerland: 1 (1 woman in 2012)
Guam: 1 (1 man in 2012)
Slovakia: 1 (1 man in 2016)

So the FINA decision-makers are skewed to countries that do not send representatives to the Olympics – and many times their swimmers do not even participate in the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup and FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix races.

On the other hand, countries with a rich history of open water swimming and much collective know-how of organizing open water events are not included in the FINA decision-making process. Representatives from countries like Russia, Germany, South Africa, Netherlands, Venezuela, Greece, Hungary, Spain, China and Portugal are not included in helping advance the sport.

Yet representatives from countries like Angola, Kenya, Cuba, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Faroe Islands, and Fiji are part of the influential rule- and decision-making governing body.

It does not make sense. The system can most definitely be improved.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association