ILDSA suspend North Channel committee over conflict of interest allegations

loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
edited August 2015 in General Discussion

In an unprecedented move, in the last few days, the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association, ILDSA, executive committee has suspended the North Channel committee pending investigation of "conflict of interest". I am unsure of how many people are affected but the NC committee seems to have been operating as a two person operation.

No public detail has yet been shared. Allegations have been circulating amongst at least some members of the Irish marathon and North Channel swimming communities.

The ILDSA want all planned 2015 swims to go ahead and will be working with at least two of the pilots to ensure no effect to swimmers.

Long term implications are unknown.

I have emailed ILDSA committee members, NC swimmers, Swim Ireland and Swim Ulster for comments or answers to a long list of initial questions, where relevant which include but is not limited to the below list. I have left out some more sensitive questions which might be misinterpreted in public debate. I will update with anything official or on the record that I can share.

  • What statement can the ILDSA make about this?

  • Will [the ILDSA] be making a statement on the ILDSA site or elsewhere?

  • How does the suspension affect already booked swimmers?

  • Can you share the reasons you took this unprecedented step?

  • Does the suspension relate to purely to actions as part of the committee, or as other [ILDSA] functions such as [ ]?

  • Are some or any recent swims under suspicion or investigation?

  • Does the ILDSA have a process or committee for swim ratification that avoids allegations of conflict of interest?

  • Can you share the process whereby swims should be ratified?

  • Can you outline the requirements for NC observers?

  • Does the ILDSA have an interim plan or what's the next stage?

  • Are Swim Ireland or Swim Ulster aware of the situation and of the allegations have resulted in this action?

  • If so, what has been their response?

  • Will you be putting in a full NC committee?

  • There have been some changes to the rules in the last two years. Will the ILDSA have an NC rules discussion or committee?

  • [Is there any] impact to swims booked with [ ] pilot?



  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2015

    @loneswimmer, interesting news.

    For the general benefit, can you explain what a "conflict of interest" means in the context of a marathon swimming sanctioning body? I think it should be possible to do this without naming names...

  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member

    @loneswimmer -

    Is the North Channel committee a subcommittee of ILDSA or somehow chartered by them? Just curious as to the authority of ILDSA over NC since here in the U.S., groups that oversee things like Catalina and MIMS swims aren't really under any other formal structure.


    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited August 2015

    In the most general terms, conflict of interest would probably refer to someone using a position of influence or knowledge to their own self-interest.

    A previous example cited elsewhere on the forum and often discussed in the community would that of the Secretary of a swim association using their position to advertise their coaching service to all prospective Channel aspirants.

    Other potential conflicts include:

    • Setting up a business based on gaining inside knowledge of an association's private information.
    • A Pilot choosing swimmers for a relay that in turn serves to advertise or validate said pilot.
    • Using personal influence or position on sanctioning committee to have swims ratified outside the normally accepted process or to avoid or otherwise contravene the normal accepted processes.
    • Using influence in one association to promote another association without the agreement of the first association.
    • Acting as both a member of a sanctioning committee and as someone benefiting from the decisions of said sanctioning committee.
    • Operating a sub-committee to the detriment of the reputation of the parent organisation.
    • A reputation or personal actions that are detrimental to the organisation's reputation.
    • Using position in organisation to avoid or change normal rules of selecting observers and allowing observers with further conflicts of interest.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member

    Is the North Channel committee a subcommittee of ILDSA or somehow chartered by them?

    A sub committee of the ILDSA. The ILDSA seems in broad strokes similar to other sanctioning organisations. To date, it has been the only organisation to ratify North Channel swims. It also organizes some other swims in the country, mostly in particular geographic regions. It could be said that it's like the CSA crossed with the BLDSA.

  • Not much to add but .. WHOA... this is going to be interesting. Sad, but interesting. Thank you so much for clarifying and letting us know.

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited August 2015

    Update: A member of the ILDSA Executive Committee has just been in contact to say they have not suspended the NC committee. In the MSF & Forum spirit of public discourse:

    "On behalf of the ILDSA I wish to confirm that the ILDSA have not suspended the North Channel Committee and we are in full support of all swimmers waiting to attempt the North Channel."

    "We request the immediate removal of the announcement on the Marathon Swimmers Forum, entitled “ILDSA suspend North Channel committee over conflict of interest allegations”, which contains inaccurate and false information, and all associated social media posts."

    I don't question the ILDSA's intentions or support for aspirant NC swimmers.

    In fact it does now look that the NC is not in fact suspended, contrary to what was earlier attempted by the ILDSA.

    I have asked for further clarification of followup questions in return. I have offered to post unedited responses and of course that any member of the ILDSA is welcome to join the forum, as at least one is already a member, and respond to this thread.


  • bruckbruck San FranciscoMember

    loneswimmer said:
    In fact it does now look that the NC is not in fact suspended, contrary to what was earlier attempted by the ILDSA.

    So they suspended it, but then changed their minds?

    Ah, politics!

    Curious: What does it mean to suspend (or to un-suspend), the "NC Committee"? Does it mean that NC swim attempts are suspended? Or just that the individuals involved in the committee are relieved of their powers?

    The person listed on ILDSA website as "North Channel Secretary" is Nuala Moore. No mention of a committee.

  • after spending about 15 years in our sport, I wouldn't have thought there was enough money in north channel swimming to attract much of a conflict of interest personality to try something nefarious...

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member

    @MikeH, before the events of Sept 2013, and had I not spent 5 years writing a swim blog and co-running this forum, and receiving a lot of off-the-record info, I would have agreed with you. Sadly, my natural inclination to believe the positive of all swimmers has been somewhat eroded.

    @bruck, some of the questions I have asked relate to your points.

    Swim attempts are not suspended and swimmers should not be affected.

    I'll say for clarity that I believe the ILDSA is attempting to rectify a situation that escalated out of control and are attempting to do the right thing.

    I didn't mention my own thoughts or support to them when I asked them the questions, as I don't think my opinions are relevant as I'm neither an ILDSA member nor an NC swimmer. But possibly because of that and from the ILDSA's point of view, I expect they see me and this discussion as problematic, at best. Luckily I'm beholden to no-one or no organisation other than doing what I think is right.

    I have said before, say again now, and will almost certainly say again in the future, that public discussion of difficult issues is essential for the health of the sport.


  • andissandiss Senior Member

    So...a the ILDSA like a swim club in Ulster that is associated to Swim Ireland?

    I'm just a bit confused - because in the about section you read about swimmers that as i understand are not affiliated but claimed as theirs - or is there a requirement to join them or to do certain swims to qualify for international champ swims? Please note this post is not in anyway a negative remark to ILDSA - i'm just being curious.

    And by the way - a local cork girl - Nancy Edmead - kicked some ass at the ILDSA 17km national champs with a time of 4h and 4 min.!!!!

  • @MikeH... You'd be surprised.


    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach

  • JenAJenA Charter Member

    @loneswimmer said:

    I have said before, say again now, and will almost certainly say again in the future, that public discussion of difficult issues is essential for the health of the sport.

    Hear, hear! And, ideally, here. :-)

  • What's the status of this?


    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member

    @suziedods I'm not ignoring this. I jut can't really answer for the moment as anything I know is off the record. This saga has not gone away.

    SwimIreland never responded at all.

    The ILDSA didn't respond to the above email or the followup questions I asked, which included:

    Is is the case that the ILDSA executive did believe you had suspended the NC committee or members thereof, but subsequently for whatever reasons such as the ILDSA charter, rules or similar have realised that was not possible and changed course to a different option?

    Can you say what if any actions you have taken with regards to the allegations of conflict of interest which have been surfacing recently?

    Can you categorically state that there are no questions of conflict of interest or other and that the committee has full and unequivocal confidence in the NC committee and all members thereof?


  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member

    It is now understand from a number of sources that the ILDSA North Channel committee no longer exists, having been dissolved last weekend.

    North Channel swimming organisation and ratification will be run by the ILDSA Executive Committee.

    One person from the ILDSA NC sub-committee was removed entirely from the ILDSA.

    I believe that those who understand this situation more fully will commend the ILDSA on tacking a difficult and long-running issue which was bad for the ILDSA, bad for the sport of marathon swimming and bad for Irish marathon and open water swimming.


  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member

    It's been confirmed that Nuala Moore, former North Channel secretary, is no longer acting in that or any position, having been completely removed by the ILDSA Executive Committee from the organisation.

    A new NC committee has been appointed (instead of the previous one-person only situation) under new leadership, and will I believe bring new life and integrity to the North Channel.

    I continue to wish the ILDSA and the NC committee and future NC aspirants the best, and I look forward to the 2016 season and wish success to all the swimmers.


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