Dawn Fraser slams FINA as star swimmers threaten to walk away
Four-time Olympic swimming champion Dawn Fraser has lashed the sport’s governing body for failing to prevent its brightest stars from flirting with other sports.
One of Australia’s most promising young swimmers, 20-year-old Kyle Chalmers, will consider walking away from swimming after the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to pursue a career in the AFL.
Fraser blames FINA’s ongoing pay dispute with its swimmers for making the sport less attractive for star athletes, telling Macquarie Sports Radio it would be a “disgrace” if FINA allowed Chalmers and others to give up swimming.
“It’s a disgrace to the sport and FINA has got to wake up to this,” Fraser told Macquarie Sports Radio‘s Cam Reddin.
“We can’t afford to lose any of these champion swimmers,” she said. “We need them. I love Kyle Chalmers… but I don’t blame him”.
English breaststroke star Adam Peaty has threatened to boycott FINA events, if it follows through with a promise to ban swimmers for up to two years if they take part in non-FINA approved competitions, some of which offer appearance money and substantial prizemoney.
“FINA should not put a sanction on any swimmer that goes to swim in the International Swimming League (a start-up tournament funded by Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin Grigorishin),” Fraser said.
Chalmers won gold in the 100m freestyle, along with two bronze medals, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
He also Australian rules football as a junior before switching his focus to swimming. Chalmers’ father Brett played 75 games in the AFL for Port Adelaide and Adelaide in the 1990s.
Click below to hear the full interview. The Weekend Warm-Up returns on January 19, 2019.