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FINA Bars Ecuador; Masters At Elite Champs

Nov 6, 2012  - Craig Lord

FINA has suspended the Ecuador Swimming Federation, due to "major interference of the Government in the functioning of the Federation".

The international swimming federation announced the move today and noted that "athletes from Ecuador will be able to participate in FINA events under the FINA flag".

The decision was taken at the FINA Bureau meeting held in Moscow last weekend.

The ruling body also agreed to include the world masters championships with the showcase World Championships for elite swimming, diving, water polo, synchro and open water from 2015 onwards. There are no details on that as yet but the likelihood is that the masters events will be staged before or after the eight days of the main elite event unless hosts are obliged to have two competition pools set up for racing at the same venue.

The Bureau also confirmed that High Diving events (27m for men, 18m for women) will join the programme for the 15th World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain, next July.

FINA was not minded to include mixed relays for seniors. Instead, it will add relays with boys and girls on one team (two of each gender obligatory) at the World Junior Swimming Championships, starting from 2013. Age groups for that event were set at 15 to 18 for boys and 14 to 17 for girls.

The international federation concluded its announcement by noting that "negotiations to continue with the IOC in order to increase the contribution of the Aquatic disciplines in the Olympic programme".

Caution ahead: Olympic demands on numbers and costs and a nod to history remind us that if FINA adds a new event, the likelihood is that something already on the programme will be dropped. The debate will be held at a time when other sports already look to swimming and ask - not without some stage nodding from IOC members who will cast their votes - why the sport needs more events when it already has a programme that allows specialist to race three solo events or more - plus up to three relays. 

Multiple medallist of the Phelpsian kind are truly rare (he unique, of course) but swimming is awash with people who have won two to four and even five at one Games. 

When FINA pressed for more in the 1970s, the 200m medley and the men's 4x100m freestyle relay were dropped from the 1976 Olympic Games.

As the old adage* goes: be careful what you wish for.

* - the original saying is said to date back to German Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 “ 1832), a master of epic and lyric poetry as well as novels and much else. He wrote: “Beware of what you wish for in youth, because you will get it in middle life”.