— Published 18 August 2023

Australia threatened with exclusion

Threat of an earthquake in world swimming. The Australian federation (Swimming Australia) could be excluded from the international body, less than a year away from the Paris 2024 Games. At issue is its governance. In a letter dated August 7 and addressed to Swimming Australia president Michelle Gallen, World Aquatics warns the federation of the risk of exclusion due to a lack of athlete representativeness in its governance. “Swimming Australia must take steps to broaden its membership base to be more representative and inclusive of its athletes, insists the document, revealed by Australian media. That’s why we urge you to present an action plan to the World Aquatics Board within 30 days, with the aim of making it a reality within 90 days.” Dominant in the water (30 medals, including 15 golds, at the 2023 Worlds in Fukuoka), Australian swimming is proving far less brilliant outside the pools. The federation’s CEO, Eugenie Buckley, resigned last April, under pressure from member organizations in the various states, who were unhappy with the way the body was being run and with a reduction in financial support. World Aquatics was so concerned that it sent an initial letter to Swimming Australia expressing its concerns. “As you know, stability in leadership positions is not only crucial for World Aquatics to maintain meaningful and productive relationships with its national federations, but also necessary for athletes, coaches and members of a federation to have confidence in the general management,” insisted the international body at the time.