Hungarian swimming sensation and three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszú has announced the founding of a new international swimming body, the Global Association of Professional Swimmers (GAPS).
Hosszú, busy preparing for the FINA World Aquatics Championships on July 14, set up the body with the help of 30 international swimmers, including 15 Olympic champions, with a view to forming a similar swimming association to FINA.
Here's Hosszú's statement in full:
Dear Fellow Swimmers,
Many things can change in sports in a span of two weeks, not only races and championships, but careers as well. In Rio it took roughly a week to award all the medals of the Olympic swimming competition, and the same will happen in the World Championships this year in Budapest.
In the last two weeks, I’ve learnt an important lesson: this amount of time could be enough for an entire sport to start heading into a completely new direction. I was hoping that my last letter would have a light bulb effect for many of you, but even I underestimated the rate at which everything would happen. I do not mean the fact that the press would quickly jump on the topic, or that many people who were never interested in swimming will start asking questions about the sport, but I mean the speed and ease at which all of us, the swimmers, have started to come together as one.
As I believed, many of us were on the same page, well aware of the problems of today’s swimming. We had the same way of thinking when it came down to finding solutions to those issues. Even if we had remained silent until now, most of us were not only ready to openly talk about the problems, but ready to act in order to reform the sport of swimming, even if those changes might be against our own personal interests. This whole movement has immediately eliminated many of our dividing lines, with different nationalities, languages, time-zones and cultures all coming together as one.
We are proud to announce that with more than 30 members, including 15 Olympic champions, the Global Association of Professional Swimmers (GAPS) is coming to life today, with its members already representing all the continents of the globe. Our goal is to have more members and to listen to all of you.
GAPS will make it possible for us to jointly represent the interest of the professional swimmers, to have a clear view on what is happening today in the sport of swimming, and to have a chance to influence the future development of our sport. We now rightfully expect that leaders of FINA will give us a seat at the table.
We expect swimmers to be treated as equal partners. We expect that they 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.
You can join and share your opinion with us on http://swimmingprofessionals.org. And when the time comes, we will be able to represent the best interests of the entire professional swimming community as one.
Current members: Jessica Ashwood, Australia; Bronte Campbell, Australia; Cate Campbell, Australia; Madison Wilson, Australia; Pieter Timmers, Belgium; Bruno Fratus, Brazil; Hilary Caldwell, Canada; Pernille Blume, Denmark; Jeanette Ottesen, Denmark; Rikke Pedersen, Denmark; Camile Lacourt, France; Anna Santamans, France; Marco Koch, Germany; James Guy, Great Britain; Adam Peaty, Great Britain; Katinka Hosszú, Hungary; Luca Dotto, Italy; Kosuke Hagino, Japan; Femke Heemskerk, Netherlands; Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Netherlands; Kira Toussaint, Netherlands; Sharon Van Rouwendaal, Netherlands; Ferry Weertman, Netherlands; Michelle Coleman, Sweden; Jennie Johansson, Sweden; Sarah Sjöström, Sweden; Cameron Van Der Burgh, South Africa; Conor Dwyer, USA; Katie Meili, USA; Lia Neal, USA.