Another financial incentive will be dangled in front of world class swimmers such as Baltimore's Anita Nall as they train for world championships and the Olympics.
U.S. Swimming, the sport's governing body, has approved the awarding of prize money to top American finishers at major international meets. There will be purses of $600,000 for the 1994 World Championships in Rome and $800,000 for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Points will be awarded for medals -- three for gold, two for silver, one for bronze -- and the purse will be divided into shares.
Nall, the world-record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke who won a gold, a silver and a bronze at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, welcomes the prize money system, but says it won't send her into a training fury.
"It's definitely a bonus, but I don't think it will serve as a big incentive for me," said the Towson Catholic junior. "What makes me want to swim fast are my own personal goals and personal drive, not money. It's nice, but it won't change my view of swimming."
Nall and other leading U.S. swimmers have for more than a year received monthly stipends of about $1,500 and bonuses of $10,000 and $5,000 for world and American records, respectively. The prizes, however, will be tied directly to finishing first, second or third.
The prize money is included in U.S. Swimming's $5 million annual budget funded in part by corporate sponsors. The organization's board approved the prize money system this week and final approval tomorrow by vote of delegates is considered a foregone conclusion.