What is the common thread that links Swimming Natation Canada (SNC), Swim Ontario (SO), British Swimming (BS) and Swim England (SE)?
It is this: those individuals who are in positions of authority at these organizations see themselves as “experts” in all things that pertain to swimming, and because they are “experts” the belief is that they are all knowing, always have been, always will be, and as a result can do no wrong, never have done anything wrong, and admitting of doing wrong… well, that is an impossibility… because they are “experts” of course.
Why do these individuals who maintain positions of authority at these organizations see themselves as “experts”? Its because government staff who work in the provincial and national Ministries of Sport who fund these sports associations see these organizational bodies as “the experts” in the sport. The government funds these associations to oversee their respective sports based on the belief that these organizations have the specialized knowledge and contacts to do so. The problem arises when those who obtain and maintain positions of authority in these sport associations misunderstand that simply because the organizational body is seen as “the expert”, doesn’t translate in anyway to them individually being “experts”. But seeing yourself, and being seen as “the expert” does have a nice feel to it… so why not.
This is what insufficiently educated and experienced people do… as in people who are in positions that are well beyond their scope of skills.
Instead of realizing its the organizational body and not the Executive Director of the organization that is considered the expert, these under qualified individuals assume that by taking on their position of authority grants them dictatorial powers over the sport, over all those associated and affiliated with the sport, basically everything they claim to be within their reach.
The evidence of this mindset is easily identified if you review Swim Ontario policies and procedures. In virtually all cases, and no different than in the case of discrimination as detailed in the posts titled “State of British Swimming”… the Executive Director of Swim Ontario has appointed themselves as judge & jury with few if any exceptions for independent review. The Executive Director without any outside input is not only capable of making final decisions, they are the final decision without opportunity for appeal, and in the slight chance of an appeal, guess who has the final say… that’s right: the Executive Director. The fact that this is a Red List Conflict of Interest according to SDRCC makes no impact on Swim Ontario because being “the expert” the belief is that whatever they write as a policy is right. Ahh… isn’t it great to be king (or queen)!
Why would Executive Directors of sport organization behave in such a manner?
Because when you lack the ability to do your job, you do not want anyone else to know about it, you position yourself as the “expert”, the undeniable and unquestionable “expert” with no one allowed to dare question your degree of expertise.
Indeed, the Government of Ontario has granted Swim Ontario to be the body representing the sport of swimming, but the Government does not grant any single solitary individual the title of “expert”. It is the organization which is responsible for obtaining all the appropriate information from all true experts, amalgamating and analyzing the information, and then with real “expert” guidance design and develop and implement policies and procedures that meet Government of Ontario rules & regulations, and funding criteria.
But this is not what the Executive Director of Swim Ontario (or Swim England/British Swimming) believe; they believe that they are the “chosen ones”, the one and only ones with a say on anything related to the sport of swimming, and for them… consultation with anyone is wasted time because what’s the point when you are “the expert”. It takes an egotistical maniac to deem themselves the “expert” on all things related to the sport crowning themselves king or queen with anyone questioning their authority deemed a ‘lethal threat’ to the sport… which is what we have today at the top of our swimming associations. Which also brings us to the point of why these organizations cannot change…
If you are “the expert” – these ego maniacs believe – then being wrong is an impossibility, they are never wrong, ever… past, present or future. And, any admission of being wrong would set a precedent that they and their organization could be wrong not on just on one issue, but other issues (which would negate the belief that the are truly “the experts”, explaining why they are incapable of ever admitting any wrong doing).
What organizations that respect the title of “expert” do is not appoint themselves as kings and queens, as experts on all things; instead they respect that although the final decision or directive is expected to come from them, they respect that to be able to execute on that expectation arises by obtaining consultations from true “experts”. By seeking opinions from a number of experts in the field and related fields, by documenting the consultation process and deciding on a course of action based on the highest level of “expertise”. Such a process also allows for the opportunity to rewrite policies and procedures when the knowledge in a specific area is updated. Its impossible to write one policy and procedure and expect it to stand indefinitely. That implies that we will never gain new insight into anything, that our knowledge today is perfect, complete. Its takes quite the ego to believe that you are an “expert”, it takes an entire different level of ego to believe you can write a policy that will stand in perpetuity.
So how we end up with all the issues you see today in sport… sexual abuse, discrimination based on sex, age, race or religion, should not be a surprise.
Once these self proclaimed “experts” issue a policy on a topic, that policy can never, ever ever ever ever be changed because to change a policy implemented by them would mean that the policy is not perfectly right, and if the policy is not right… then they were… wrong! Gasp! Being wrong is not a precedent any egotistical maniac can permit, which results in a negative feedback loop… wrong decisions beget even worse decisions, which are dismissed or denied whenever they rise up begetting more wrong decisions.
Which brings us to the current ‘State of British Swimming’…
Two years after all female swimmers at a competition made to swim their events in the warm up pool, whereas all the men swimming in the Olympic long course pool for their events, and no one from Swim England or British Swimming can even come up with a simple sorry.
An “expert” made a mistake, but “experts” don’t make mistakes… so no “expert” can say sorry.
If one mistake was made, then there must be more… and thats a precedent that Swim Ontario, Swimming Natation Canada, Swim England and British Swimming cannot allow to be considered, not even for an instance.
Which is why I ask masters swimmers in Ontario… we are free of the punitive policies and procedures of Swim Ontario and Swimming Natation Canada, why would we ever want to go back. We have it all! We have clubs, we have meets, we have Provincial Champs AND Swim Ontario & Swimming Canada are required by Aquatics Canada to offer unattached status to all Canadians so that anyone can attend Nationals and anyone can attend FINA sanctioned events internationally.
We’ve got it good, lets keep it that way. If OFSAA can exist outside of Swim Ontario & Swimming Canada for years with high school swim meets continuing without issue, then Masters Swimming Ontario can not only survive, but can thrive.