World Aquatics executive director Brent Nowicki delivered a powerful message to U.S. National Team swimmers at the 2023 Golden Goggles Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Nowicki began by acknowledging the success of USA Swimming, which he called “one of the most successful swimming programs ever produced.” However, he also emphasized the responsibility that came with this reputation.
“All of you out there, the eyes of the world are on you when you walk out on that pool deck,” said Nowicki. “My message to you tonight: Please do not underestimate the impact you have, in both actions and words, on our global swimming community.”
He reminded the swimmers that they were leaders who would help guide the sport forward. And now more than ever, the world needed them.
“The world is fragile,” said Nowicki, likely referencing conflicts such as Russia’s war in Ukraine and the Israel-Palestine conflict. “At World Aquatics, it is our hope to provide a platform where countries can come together and embrace peaceful competition.”
The International Olympic Committee suspended the Russian Olympic Committee for illegally annexing sports organizations from Ukraine last month. And World Aquatics moved its final stop of its 2023 Open Water World Cup Series out of Eilat, Israel amid ongoing fighting in the region. The Eilat stop of the 2024 Open Water World Cup Series remains uncertain.