Sadly We Are Not Alone

In the “Swimming World” magazine you can read an interesting account of poor swimming administration. Here is the link.

The table below summarises the main points made in Craig Lord’s article. However reading the whole thing is well worthwhile. As the title to this Swimwatch report says, “Sadly we are not alone.” What that means is that poor old Swim England seems to be afflicted by the same grumpy old buggers we have in New Zealand. Colonisation was never meant to involve sending that lot out here to run swimming in New Zealand. Sure looks like that’s what’s happened. We asked for the Beatles and got Bostock.

Swim England Governance In Spotlight – Three Masters Complaints Upheld

Chris Bostock, former Chair of the Swim England Sport Governing Board, has been found guilty in a third misconduct case. An independent panel concluded that he was guilty of “rude and aggressive” behaviour in violation of the association’s Code of Ethics in a case brought by Professor Sue Arrowsmith, a masters swimmer and expert in law, over events that took place at a meeting she was to have delivered a presentation at.

Bostock has not issued an apology to Prof. Arrowsmith, the third of the three women whose complaints against him were upheld.

Many felt that poor governance had underpinned the crisis-striken 2016 London European Masters Championships: the event was a commercial and sporting fiasco, with huge financial losses, according to official figures and reports.

Close to 10,000 swimmers were crammed into facilities designed for 5,000, while organisers faced accusations of sex discrimination after the women’s races were allocated mainly to the “warm up” pool at the London 2012 venue, while the men, for the most part, got to race in the Olympic pool.

The governance problems were to have been discussed in a session led by Professor Arrowsmith, a Law Professor who is also an expert to the International Partnership Against Corruption in Sport. However, with less than 48 hours’ notice, the session was cancelled by Jane Nickerson, Swim England CEO. The reason: Professor Arrowsmith’s paper was “too critical”, according to Verity Dobbie, who represents the federation in dealing with Masters.

According to the disciplinary findings, Nickerson then gave Bostock the job of shutting down any governance discussion, telling him that Professor Arrowsmith was seen as a “trouble maker”.

When angry delegates – many of whom had travelled hundreds of miles – asked to hear Professor Arrowsmith, Bostock intervened in a manner delegates described as “abusive”, “aggressive”, “intimidating” and “threatening”.

Many weeks have gone by and there has been no apology from Bostock. Should that change, we will bring you news of his apology.

Meanwhile, Prof. Arrowsmith has told Swimming World that she is not at all surprised that Bostock has not apologised but is disappointed at what she believes is evidence that Swim England is not taking on board the need for serious cultural change. She added:

“The board’s statement includes no expression of regret or even any indication that it accepts the criticisms. It is incredibly disappointing that three years after London our swimming federations continue to display the same contempt for stakeholders as before and still react to all criticism by trying to squash it rather than engaging with it.

How do these guys get these jobs? They clearly don’t do it for the personal enjoyment. They walk around with faces as long as a wet week. Perhaps it’s a power thing. Having failed to replace Boris at No.10 or Jacinda in the Beehive they turn the swimming world into their personal Third Reich.

Yesterday I sent the Swimming World article to a friend of mine. This is her reply.

“There is a photo of Chris Bostock – the Swim England moron – on Craig Lord’s article.  OMG – was he ever young? Did he ever climb trees for the hell of it? I haven’t found a bio of him – but – I will judge this book by the cover :)”

Isn’t that the truth? I guess Mr. Bostock must be about my age. What that means is he, like me, is a product of the 1960s – you know the decade? Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, flower power, going to San Francisco with flowers in your hair, leaving on a jet plane, California girls, good vibrations, peace brother, all the good stuff. Did all that pass Mr. Bostock by?

Did he miss the bit where our generation was supposed to lift the world into a chill and peaceful, fair and honest place? What happened to “a whole generation
with a new explanation” Sure seems like Bostock missed that message. Instead a younger generation, represented by Lord and Arrowsmith, have to fight the good fight. Well done you guys.

And as for Bostock, I have some advice that should help his sour temperament. Pick some flowers and go climb a tree for the hell of it.

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