What qualifies as an "official swimming governing body"?

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited January 10 in General Discussion
I'm having an interesting conversation on Twitter right now with Associated Press reporter Jennifer Kay (who covered the Nyad brouhaha):

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[Direct link to Twitter context]

Comments

  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    edited January 10
    What swim are we sanctioning?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    That is the prerogative of the swimmer - when and how (s)he wishes to reveal that.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    Well, if the MSF is sanctioning one, I'd like to begin a discussion (if enough interest, this can be another thread) about having a global MSF "swim group." I'd love to see swimmers swimming in OW events around the world under the banner of "MSF." I'd love to tell the Rangers at the state park I swim at in the summer that I'm swimming as part of a recognized swim club or masters club, called the MSF. ;)
  • gregocgregoc Member
    edited January 10
    I always viewed an official governing body as a group that has Articles of Organization and By-laws with a clearly stated purpose and governance.

    Wikkis definition: "A sport governing body is a sports organization that has a regulatory or sanctioning function. Sport governing bodies come in various forms, and have a variety of regulatory functions." They can be local, national, or internationl governing bodies.
  • suziedodssuziedods Member
    edited January 10
    I don't "get " the twitter thing... and I do think that MSF is not in a position to "sanction" but certainly one could say that "I am swimming under MSF rules/guidelines".
    As a "sanctioning" body, we are ALL part of MSF, intrinsically... but I do NOT want to be part of a "sanctioning" body. Too many liabilities. Sorry. Had to say it.(ps, trying to top Karen T's vocab and not coming close)

    ** addition** I am not saying that the MSF Rules are a bad , thing, I endorsed them, I agree with the idea of them and the need for them. What I don't think MSF can do ...AT THIS POINT.. is sanction a swim. Without a board, with out insurance with out by laws , a sanction is meaningless to anyone but the sanctee.This is not to say that this can't happen in the future. The world is not ready for it yet. ( course they weren't ready for us in September either )
    I love swimming
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com
  • DavidDavid Member
    edited January 10
    It sounds like we are all (MSF) making history :)
    Its an honor to be a part of such a distinguished group.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    @suzie, I agree that "sanctioning" in the traditional sense, with insurance, liabilities, and regulatory authority, is not something we have any interest in getting in to.

    Hopefully, the swim coming up next week will shed some light on the possibilities here... A case study.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    I want to sign up for Swim for the Potomac 10K and under "team" I want to put "Marathon Swimmers Federation." Anyone have a problem with that?
  • You might want to check the wording of the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. Depending on the wording, it could be the case that all swimming (including marathon swims) is theoretically under the jurisdiction of US Swimming. Kind of like how ultra marathons are under the jurisdiction of USATF, even though ultras are not part of the Olympics or Pan-Am Games. If it is, then MSF would have little to stand on WRT being an "official" entity, although the argument could be made that if USS has "abandoned" marathon swims, then MSF has stepped in to bring order to chaos.
    If marathon swimming were to get "big", you can bet USS would assert there primacy.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited January 13

    @Leonard_Jansen it could be the case that all swimming (including marathon swims) is theoretically under the jurisdiction of US Swimming.

    Please, MSF is more than the USA. Even if you're right about the USA and USS rules.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    To answer my own question.... What I was getting at in my convo with Ms. Kay was:

    In our sport (amateur solo marathon swimming), which is not governed by FINA, the requirements of being an "officially governing body," for the most part, are:

    1. The organization asserts it is an official governing body.
    2. The marathon swimming community respects the legitimacy of the organization's assertion.

    This is the case with almost every local governing body in our sport, with the exception of organizations with exclusive arrangements with maritime authorities (such as the CSA and CS&PF).
  • Yes, the MSF has international impact and it's large, experienced membership should carry influential impact, but I don't think it qualifies as a governing body. The MSF is a forum and a great one at that. In the future Donal, Evan and others may want to form the Marathon Swimming Federation (MSF) to govern.

    Oh wait, they have already done that! Now they just have to set up the proper governance and get official recognition.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    I officially recognize the MSF.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 13
    IronMike said:

    I'd love to see swimmers swimming in OW events around the world under the banner of "MSF." I'd love to tell the Rangers at the state park I swim at in the summer that I'm swimming as part of a recognized swim club or masters club, called the MSF. ;)

    This is a cool idea... I imagine there may be a few folks here who are required to have USMS registration (for whatever reason) but may feel that a pool club's affiliation doesn't best represent them.

    (In SF we are lucky to have the South End Rowing Club as an option for USMS club affiliation.)

    Mike, would you be willing to look into what it'd take to set this up? Which LMSC would this hypothetical club belong to?
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    I'll do that. I just read something this weekend (perhaps in the new USMS Swimmer?) on what's needed to start a USMS club or "workout group."
  • Niek said:

    @Leonard_Jansen it could be the case that all swimming (including marathon swims) is theoretically under the jurisdiction of US Swimming.

    Please, MSF is more than the USA. Even if you're right about the USA and USS rules.
    True and my apologies if I have insulted all of the Netherlands (and any other country). I did want to point out that in the US, claiming to represent any aspect of swimming MAY be trumped by the existing law. We might want to get one of our legal eagles to look at this before it goes too far - if only to figure out wording to prevent USS lawyer nasty-grams.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • evmo said:

    This is a cool idea... I imagine there may be a few folks here who are required to have USMS registration (for whatever reason) but may feel that a pool club's affiliation doesn't best represent them.

    Count me in - I had to get one for the "Crazy Swim" in November, even though it galled me a bit to do so. I tried for years to list my club as "Shore A.C.", which was the club I racewalked for and have eternal allegiance to, but it was always rejected.

    -LBJ



    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • Setting up a governing body can involve (1) writing, monitoring, adjudicating rules and guidelines for an event, (2) obtaining insurance (it can include a variety of insurance coverage for the association members/board, swimmer, volunteers and crew), (3) specifying the swim location (i.e., limiting the jurisdiction to specific areas, times, individuals, events), (4) working with the local authorities (including local and federal government agencies and local unions or associations where required) and obtaining their written permission to conduct an event under the terms of their jurisdiction, (5) reporting to the local authorities after the event is conducted if required, especially if hospitalization or injuries occurred to swimmers or crew or volunteers, and (6) taking responsibility for the event in case of accident, injury, hospitalization, response by public safety officers, or misunderstanding. Some countries and jurisdictions are easier to work with than others, but MSF appears to have many individuals who would donate their time, talents and resources to support this initiative. As a former member of FINA's Technical Open Water Swimming Committee, it is my guess that FINA is not concerned over one-time solo amateur marathon swims conducted outside the auspices of the responsibilities/scope of its 202 member associations under the rules of the MSF by individuals who are not members of FINA-affiliated associations (note: U.S. Masters Swimming and USA Swimming and their equivalents in other countries are FINA-affiliated associations that are obligated to follow FINA guidelines). There are plenty of examples where the MSF Rules and FINA rules differ as it relates to marathon swimming (e.g., swim caps, swimsuits, drafting). FINA recognizes marathon swimming as anything at least 10 km in distance in an open body of water. But I think this issue is one of apples versus oranges. For example, if a registered U.S. Masters Swimming athlete participated in the amateur Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean under the MSF Rules, then there could be a potential jurisdictional conflict between FINA, Swimming Canada, U.S. Masters Swimming and MSF. But if that same athlete swam across lac St-Jean by herself on a random day with a supportive pilot and MSF-registered Observer, then FINA, Swimming Canada, U.S. Masters Swimming will have no problem with her or the MSF.
    Steven Munatones
    www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com
    Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.
  • http://www.usms.org/coach/content/startaprogram?utm_campaign=top_nav&utm_medium=for_coaches

    Here's the link to set up an USMS club.

    One question to investigate is whether a swimmer from one LMSC can be in a club in another LMSC, I'm not sure that's possible. One could perhaps set up an MSF club in each LMSC where there is someone interested. MSF could then be used as your club when entering a USMS sanctioned event. Similar for USA Swimming clubs and USAS sanctioned events, but it's more involved to set up a USA Swimming club.

    In the US if the event is not USAS or USMS sanctioned, aka the 2013 Portland Bridge Swim among others, you could pretty much list anything you want as your club, assuming they even list clubs.

    From what I know as a USAS referee I'm pretty sure that USA Swimming doesn't really care about your event unless you do something infringing on their turf like using Olympic in the name, etc.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    I'm in talks with the USMS local programs POC. I'll get back to @evmo and all when I'm done with my research.
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaMember
    edited January 14
    Is another governing body in open water swimming necessary or a good thing?

    The problem last year about this time was WHO would sanction long open water swims when USMS de-sanctioned many open water swims? The real issue was how swims would obtain insurance.

    So the general wisdom was (1) get sanctioned, (2) be insured and (3) consider your swimmers blessed by the USMS. When USMS pulled the plug so to speak, it was fortunate that the Kingdom swim (and others) teamed up with WOWSA. WOWSA appears to be "governing/sanctioning/rule producing" to some extent in open water swimming. The Kingdom Swim stayed alive, was insured and was very successful. Does there need to be another independent governing body in addition to WOWSA? (can of worms - I know but I can't help scratch my head)

    What I learned from members of this Forum, fortunately and thankfully, was that reasonable open water liability insurance existed for those that want to organize an open water swim - even without sanctioning. Perhaps it was even less expensive to obtain insurance because there was not a governing body that had to bless the swim before insuring it. More levels of approval can make a swim more expensive and less attractive to host.

    With numerous governing bodies (multiple sets of rules) open water swimming can become a game of multi-layer chess and in essence dilutes the basis of governing at all. Frankly, I wish the CSA and CS&PF would join forces (in my lifetime) unify the open water swimming world and set the gold standard. Not convinced that the inability of CSA and CS&PF to unify is a reason to create more governing bodies.

    Is the desire to govern a knee-jerk reaction to the Nyad fiasco?

    My head hurts - I'm going for a swim without rules which will be governed by no one.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 14
    It seems that my initial post here may have created some confusion about our intentions & plans going forward after the public release of the MSF Rules. Frankly the MSF Rules project was an enormous, time-consuming, and mind-consuming project on its own, and I'd be satisfied if we left it at that.

    But Donal and I are always looking forward, thinking about the next thing... that's just how we are.

    I will say it again, this time more forcefully for our friends @KNicholas and @Munatones: We currently have no interest in "governing" marathon swims in the traditional sense -- obtaining insurance, claiming "authority" over certain bodies of water, and everything that goes along with being an organization like the CS&PF, SBSCA, or CCSF.

    I'm not sure why we even would be interested in that? It doesn't make much sense from my perspective. I am already a board member and observer for the SBCSA, I don't need another one.

    What we are interested in (currently) is this: Creating a standardized platform -- just as we have created standardized Rules -- for swimmers to report and document their solo marathon swims. Indeed, the Rules are the basis for the standardized documentation - they provide a common framework so we can understand different swims, and different choices about swim conduct.

    If swims are properly documented, and the documentation is transparently presented and publicly available, then the community can essentially crowd-source the function of a traditional governing body (for swims outside local jurisdiction). Just like what happened with Diana Nyad's swim, incidentally.

    I know that may seem like a crazy idea.

    MSF Rules were also a crazy idea, by the way.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    I will tell all what my idea is: I am researching how to start a masters club called "MSF." Reason? I want my USMS registration to be under club MSF so when I sign up for OW swims, I can sign up at MSF.

    Maybe in the future, a few marathon swimmers can all join our MSF masters club. If a bunch of us are in the same city, we can maybe find a pool to rent a lane to hold practices. People may see "MSF" renting the lanes and ask us what is the MSF. We can explain what marathon swimming is.

    These are just ideas, but the initial reason why I'm looking into this is because when I sign up for USMS sanctioned swims, I want the club to be MSF.
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaMember
    gregoc said:

    In the future Donal, Evan and others may want to form the Marathon Swimming Federation (MSF) to govern.

    Oh wait, they have already done that! Now they just have to set up the proper governance and get official recognition.

    evmo said:

    We currently have no interest in "governing" marathon swims in the traditional sense -- obtaining insurance, claiming "authority" over certain bodies of water, and everything that goes along with being an organization like the CS&PF, SBSCA, or CCSF.

    I'm not sure why we even would be interested in that? It doesn't make much sense from my perspective. I am already a board member and observer for the SBCSA, I don't need another one.

    Well . . . the confusion isn't imaginary.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Have I clarified things for you then, Kent? I am here to help.
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaMember
    Yes and for my friend Greg in Boston as well apparently.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 14
    Kent, I've never sensed that Greg needed anything clarified. He was a reviewer and early supporter of the MSF Rules, for which I'm very grateful. (Thanks @gregoc!)

    In contrast, you've made it clear on the Channel Swimmers chat group, and here, that you do not think this project is necessary.

    If you have something constructive to contribute though, please feel free.
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaMember
    edited January 14
    Constructive comments don't require consensus. I think stepping into a global governing role isn't the way go. I recognize and appreciate the hard work put in by many to set a standard in marathon swims by laying out a set of rules that is a work in progress. All of the open water swims I've participated in have rules and not all of those swims/rules are consistent - even between very established and well recognized swim organizations. I'm okay with inconsistency - it's their swim, I'm just a guest. If I really oppose their rules, I just don't go. Not here to bad mouth the MSF Rules (I think if SCAR were audited I'd be in compliance).

    My impression was that this thread and my comments are about MSF governing and the assumed authority to govern. I'm not in favor of MSF - as a broad based and very diverse community - taking on that role at this point.

    I read (and still read) Greg's comment above as MSF being on the path to governing - I know others that share that confusion. Rules and standards are one thing (even a good thing - I don't hate all rules) - governing and enforcing those rules is another big step. I don't fault you for taking the leap and stepping out there, in fact I know you put in countless hours Evan just to make this Forum tick - just sharing my opinion - hopefully deemed suitably constructive.
  • gregocgregoc Member
    edited January 14
    I guess I should jump in here. The title of the post, a question, was asking for an answer or info on the topic. Based on Evan's twitter exchange it reads as if he is asking if MSF was or ever would be considered a governing body (that is what I took from the exchange). My thought is that the Forum is just that and couldn't / shouldn't ever become a governing body.

    That said, there is the Marathon Swimmers Federation and with the correct structure it could be formed into a governing body in the future. Now I have no idea of Evan and Donal's future plans for the Federation, I was just stating a possibility.
    Personally I feel there is an unmet need in marathon swimming; one where a solo swimmer wishes to cross a body of water where there is no local organization to sanction/ratify the swim.
    Now there are plenty of swimmers who don't care. They are not doing the swim for it to be officially recognized. They are attempting the crossing for themselves. But what of the select few (I'm thinking 10s of situations a year) that would like their swim to be officially documented and recognized by the marathon swimming community as well as the public (of course DNs swim comes to mind)? I think there is a need. FINA, USA Swimming and the like do not cover these type of swims. Someone should. I don't care if it is WOWSA, the Federation, or another organization, but someone needs to (IMO).
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 14
    I appreciated the two preceding posts from Kent and Greg. Thanks guys.

    I take responsibility for starting this discussion without fully explaining my ideas. (Such is the nature of Twitter?) I think my aim was to stimulate conversation, and I suppose it has been successful in that regard.

    SwimSwam and Swimming World both thought it was relevant to emphasize that the MSF is "not an official governing body." While technically true, I sensed it was a sneaky way of undermining the Rules document.

    So, I decided to push back when AP's Jennifer Kay parroted this notion once again. Because actually, "official governing bodies" in solo marathon swimming are kind of an interesting thing. For the most part, governing bodies are only "official" in the sense that they're recognized by the global community of marathon swimmers. With only a couple exceptions, they don't have any exclusive, legally binding authority over their local bodies of water.

    If MSF Rules are endorsed by a wide swath of the marathon swimming community, then aren't they, de facto, legitimate?

    That's all I was trying to point out. An esoteric point, perhaps.

    I have more to say about how the MSF may address the "unmet need" Greg referred to, but I have to go to bed now :)
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