Mexican Swim Team Wins 3 Golds, 1 Bronze Despite Funding Cuts

The Mexican artistic swimming team. Photo:


The Mexican synchronized swimming team on Monday, May 15, increased its FINA World Championships medal tally in Egypt to three golds and a bronze after Nuria Diosdado and Joana Jiménez were proclaimed the champions of the Mixed Technical Team category. The national team previously bagged two other gold medals in the Free Duet and Team Acrobatics categories, and a bronze medal in the Free Mixed Duet category.

With its medal haul, the Mexican team finished second only to Spain in the overall tally, an impressive feat considering its members had to sell bathing suits and towels to pay for their preparations for the tournament after Mexico’s National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport (Conade) — headed by Ana Guevara, a former Olympian and senator before being appointed to the Conade post under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) administration — cut the team’s funding. Mexican businessman Carlos Slim covered most of the national team members’ expenses, including plane tickets and accommodation, so they could travel to Egypt.

Guevara announced funding cuts to the Mexican synchronized swim team at the start of the year after the global governing body World Aquatics (formerly known as FINA) did not recognize Kiril Todorov, the president of the Mexican Swimming Federation (FMN), who is facing a trial for alleged embezzlement. Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) has accused him of misappropriating some $8.7 million that the FMN received from public resources. In May of this year, Guevara reiterated her unqualified support for Todorov.

“Here at the national level, we have nothing to prove — not his guilt, nor his innocence. For the Conade, Todorov is still the president of the FMN,” Guevara said at that time.

But Guevara denied blackmailing or seeking revenge for the swimmers remaining “neutral and not supporting Todorov.” In a statement to the press, she blamed the Miscellaneous Tax Resolution for 2023, which was published in Dec. 27, 2022, in the National Gazette of the Federation for the funding cuts, saying that “it is impossible to continue giving financial support to Mexican swimmers while the Stabilizing Committee persists, since it is a foreign body and not legally recognized by the National Department of Physical Culture and Sport (Sinade).”

Guevara has been embroiled in controversies of misallocation of funds and alleged acts of extortion throughout her term. In a Tuesday, May 16, column for Mexican daily newspaper Reforma, journalist and author Guadalupe Loaeza described Guevara as “aggressive, arrogant and very pleased with herself” and that “regardless of her very successful career as an athlete, the eternal head of Conade is considered the most corrupt in the 4T (AMLO’s so-called Fourth Transformation), according to a survey published by the consultancy Mexico Elige.”

“Thanks to the athletes selling swimsuits and the help of Carlos Slim paying for the trip and lodging and necessary expenses, the 10 Mexican swimmers were able to pay for their expenses to travel to Egypt and win three gold medals at the World Cup,” Loaeza wrote. “And the Conade? Nothing. As sports reporter David Faitelson wrote, ‘During the last five years, 2.6 billion pesos have been allocated … to baseball! Precisely the favorite sport of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.’”

On Saturday, May 13, a statement from the Mexican government on Twitter — shortly after the national team bagged its first gold medal — raised some eyebrows, especially in light of the lack of government funding for its swimmers.

“The Mexican artistic swimming team’s historic participation in the World Cup in Egypt was a golden one. Our athletes won first place, ahead of Italy and France. Congratulations!” tweeted the Gobierno de México official account.

Incidentally, World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam sent a message to the members of the Mexican artistic swimming team in April of this year, assuring them that the organization would support them so they could compete at the World Championships in Japan this summer.


Leave a Reply