SwimSuits and Profits


by John Leonard

As Randy would say on American Idol….”ok, so, dog…..here’s how it was for me…”

I’ve now heard from several representatives of the swimsuit manufacturers objecting to my use of the term “greed” and implying excessive profits. Ok, so maybe there are some harsh words there….apologies to those who need them. Here’s some more thoughts:

1. FINA has to stop asking for “input” from the commercial side of our sport. The “Commercial side” does not and SHOULD NOT make the rules. The Federations and the athletes and coaches they represent make the rules, like they did last July. Was this somehow not clear last July? What part of 168-4 did you not understand? (the vote to change the suit rules). IF a member of the Bureau has investments in swimwear companies, they might not LIKE that result, but it was a vote. Democracies run by votes.

2. Swimsuit companies need to be concerned with better governance from FINA. Tell FINA not to ask them for rules, but TELL the companies the rules under which they will produce suits and learn to make a profit. The companies are in business to make a profit and should only be limited by the rules….which are made by the Federations. We clearly need the help of the industry to persuade FINA to “get it right.” Don’t be lured to do the “wrong thing” just because FINA will let you. You know how this should run, and most of you who communicated with me, admitted it.

3. Any sustainable business model includes the business being concerned with the long term viability of the marketplace. We know that $600-$900 swimsuits will gradually kill the base of the sport. Then we become the size of gymnastics and shrinking every year. (there is a fable about killing the golden goose; etc.). “Profit” is not the problem. Short Term Profit, at the expense of long term growth of the sport, is a HUGE problem. The swimsuit companies need to be concerned with keeping the sport affordable to masses and keep growing those masses into a bigger marketplace…and NOT be worried about dragging every last dollar out of the existing market to pay for expensive suits.

4. IF the swimsuit companies want to be partners with the swimming world, then focus on long term growth and sustainable profits. NOT on capitalizing on FINA’s apparent lack of understanding of where rules must come from. Make as much profit as you can, as long as you leave the woodpile higher than you found it…by helping us GROW the sport and your marketplace.

“other than that, it was a little pitchy, dude.”

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