Hungarian Olympic swimming star Katinka Hosszu announced today the launch of a union to represent swimmers against FINA, the sport’s governing body, that she accuses of ignoring athletes.
The membership of the Global Association of Professional Swimmers (GAPS) represents “all continents of the globe”, Hosszu, a triple Olympic gold medal winner in Rio last year, wrote in a Facebook post.
Among 14 Olympic champions in the list of 29 founding members with Hosszu are Japan’s Hagino Koszuke, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, and American swimmers Katie Meili and Conor Dwyer.
“We expect swimmers to be treated as equal partners. We expect that (leaders of FINA) will sit down and start talking to us, we expect that they will listen to the voice of the professional swimmers and we expect to have a say in important decisions about the future of our sport,” said Hosszu.
The move comes two weeks after Hosszu, 28, slammed FINA in another Facebook post for restricting swimmers’ commercial opportunities and creating “destructive rules”.
A new limit set by FINA on the number of World Cup disciplines a swimmer can compete in particular angered the Hungarian who has been a dominant force in women’s swimming in recent years.
Hosszu compared the limit to a teacher stopping a “straight As” student taking on extra-curricular activities as it “was bothering the rest of the students”.
Hosszu said FINA was “in chaos”, just weeks before Budapest hosts the World Championships, the federation’s showpiece biannual event.