Through many discussions with coaches, it has become obvious that swimmers get trained to a well balanced system, a coaching scheme, that helps them to maintain and grow fitness and strength throughout the year but is designed to make them peak every four years for major events, (Olympics) and throughout each year at the nationals.
If you look at the premium swimmers they all do very well with that system. They look a picture of health and feel great.
That great feeling is probably the reason that they feel they can do more.
That new swimming initiative, everybody is talking about, that is trashing FINA constantly, wants swimmers to have extra swimming leagues and more competition events.
What do the coaches say to that? What do the health experts think?
I am not certain whether the swimmers who ask for more freedom have fully considered the health and fitness implications of that scheme.
Swimmers are athletes who probably do the most training of all the sports. I would say they train more intense than footballers and the strain on their bodies is extreme. Personally I look forward to the arguments that the swimmers and FINA will bring throughout the forthcoming discussions but I also have the feeling that the swimmers have not fully considered the implications that will have on their coaching schemes.
It may make swimming training more expensive for swimmers if they can take part in commercial competitions. Similar to students who study at university at the moment, they may have to pay training fees to coaches to cover the cost of the training. Why should any national team have to bear the cost of training, if swimmers then can go off and earn major bucks with competitions other than their national team?
And would all that extra engagement with competitions enable athletes to peak at national and international events, just as they do at the moment?
It is so easy to argue for those fortunate athletes who are already at the top of the sport, who were trained by their national coaching schemes to be as good as they are but what about the younger swimmers, who are at the beginning of their careers, who may find that they will have to pay more for coaching in the future or take up swimming just as a University degree and pay for the coaching with not just a club membership fee but with properly expensive yearly fees?
Would that not make swimming more inaccessible for the majority of swimmers?
Because if you think about it, currently footballers get training as part of their club programs and they get paid for playing in their teams and they have the freedom to change clubs but the football clubs earn millions every year from fans and TV rights.
Yet where is the finance for swimming clubs? There is very little. If I watch a live stream of a major swimming event, there are often only 3.000 people online. That is again not commercially viable.