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Swimmers association critical of Swimming Australia pay deal
The union representing Australia's top swimmers is in dispute with Swimming Australia over pay rates just weeks before the London Olympics.
As of 1st July, Swimming Australia changed its pay structure in order to provide greater rewards for international success in the way it distributes its sponsorship money.
However, Olympic gold medallist Daniel Kowalski, General Manager of the Australian Swimmers Association, says the new pay structure is too top-heavy, favouring high-achieving swimming and Olympic gold medal favourites such as Stephanie Rice and James Magnussen
Under the new scheme, Magnussen should receive about $100,000 from his Olympics campaign at the London Games.
Kowalski argues that a swimmer whose Olympic event does not go to plan will earn very little this year, and said the previous system which remunerated swimmers based on national rankings was fairer.
Swimmers who do not perform well at the Olympics stand to earn a minimum of $15,000 for the year.
Swimming Australia says top athletes will be paid up to $25,000 initially, and earn $35,000 for an individual gold medal. Relay teams will split a $60,000 bonus.
Kowalski said the new deal had been done without any consultation with the Australian Swimmers Association.
The Sydney Olympic gold medallist told the ABC's Tom Nightingale that the new pay structure could force up-and-coming swimmers out of the sport.
Kowaslki (pictured) stated "they're going to have to reassess exactly how much time they can commit to the sport, and there's implications of possibly losing people to the sport if they can't support themselves.
"Those swimmers that perform, like I said, we don't begrudge the fact that they're going to be getting paid, but it is such a top-heavy payment that the majority of swimmers could potentially go without."
Kowalski says he will ask Federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy to overturn the pay deal and force a renegotiation.
However, he does not expect dragging the pay dispute into the spotlight will distract swimmers from their preparations for the London Games, adding "they're all very professional, they're seasoned and they get about doing their own job."
The Sydney Morning Herald has reported Swimming Australia head coach Leigh Nugent as backing the new scheme, reporing that Nugent had received only positive feedback from its elite athletes.
Nugent was quoted as saying he had not "heard any negative comments from swimmers about the introduction of this program."
29th February 2012 - SWIMMING AUSTRALIA STRATEGIST REFLECTS ON SUCCESSES AND CHALLENGES
7th April 2011 - ELITE SWIMMERS SEEK PAY RISES
30th May 2010 - NEWS LTD AGAIN BLAMES CONTRACTING FOR ELITE SWIMMING DECLINE
16th March 2010 - NUGENT APPOINTED SWIMMING AUSTRALIA HEAD COACH
9th September 2009 - ELITE SWIMMING LOSES COACHES: CONTRACTS TO BLAME?
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