Two-time Olympic swimming champion Penny Heyns will lead the FINA Athletes Committee for five more years following the recent announcement of the committee’s new composition. The South African, who became the first woman to win both the 100m and 200m breaststroke at the Olympic Games Atlanta 1996, was elected chairman and FINA Bureau member for the 2017-2021 period.

In all, 16 members were elected to the new committee, including several former members and six new representatives. In a notable first, the FINA Athletes Committee will be represented in all six disciplines, while a member has also been appointed to each Technical Committee for the first time (diving, high diving, open water, swimming, artistic swimming and water polo).

“During my tenure on the FINA AC, I have seen the committee grow and achieve several important milestones,” Heyns said. “Each step forward has admittedly taken time; however, momentum has been created and the FINA AC is steadily strengthening its influence within FINA, ensuring the voice of the athlete is represented at all decision-making levels.”

FINA Bureau liaison Matthew Dunn, who competed for Australia in swimming in three consecutive editions of the Olympic Games, added: “The FINA AC provides a voice to all aquatic athletes and, via this platform, allows them to influence the development of all aquatic disciplines at multiple levels.

“The athletes are our sport and therefore it is important that their collective views can shape the future of FINA.”

Former world champion marathon swimmer Britta Kamrau (GER) was elected as vice-chairman, while other committee members include five-time Olympic swimming gold medallist Aaron Peirsol (USA), Olympic water polo silver medallist Stavroula Kozompoli (GRE), and Kirsty Coventry, IOC Member and Zimbabwe’s most successful Olympian.