FINA’s World Championships
FINA stands for Fédération Internationale de Natation, which means International Swimming Federation in English, and is the international swimming federation that is recognized by the International Olympics Committee.
The organisation is part of a group of several international federations, which administer a specific discipline or sport for the International Olympic Committee and the wider global community. Based in Lausanne, Switzerland, FINA is responsible for administering international competitions in Aquatics. Aside from the premier FINA World Championships events, the organisation also oversees Masters competitions all over the world, which are special classes of competitions for swimmers who are 25 years and older.
The FINA World Championships
The World Aquatics Championships, or FINA World Championships, is the international competition that is convened for various aquatic sports including water polo, diving, synchronised, open water and regular swimming, all in a 50 meter pool. In 2013, high diving was introduced as another emerging discipline within FINA.
Inaugurated in 1973, the Championships are held every 2 years, in the odd years, so they never clash with the Summer Olympic Games. There are several events within each of the 5 categories mentioned above, most of which have a male swimmers and female swimmers version. The diving events, for example, involve separate male and female contests for the 1 m springboard, 3 m springboard, 10 m platform, synchronised 3 m springboard and synchronised 10 m platform. There are also mixed and team events for the 10 m synchronised platform and 3 m synchronised springboard.
Qualifying for the World Aquatics Championships
FINA releases the required qualifying times before every World Championship, usually involving an A and B cut. These cuts refer to different performance times, and any national Federation can enter 1 swimmer in every event if the swimmer has a B time, while if 2 swimmers from the same country are entered in the same contest they must both have the faster A times. If a federation does not have any qualifying swimmers, they can enter up to 2 male and 2 female unqualified candidates. In cases where there are less than 2 qualified male and 2 qualified female swimmers for an event, unqualified athletes can be sued to make up the numbers as long as the final team represents both genders.
FINA World Swimming Championships
Unlike the FINA World Championships, these take place in a 25 m pool and are also known as the Short Course Worlds. These events take place in the alternate years to the World Championships, which means they are currently held in the calendar’s even years. These races also differ from the FINA World Championships in that they only feature short-course swimming rather than all 5 Aquatic disciplines.
An Olympic Companion
The FINA World Championships are monitored and regulated as closely as the Summer Olympics are, and give a good idea of who to watch for at the next Games of the Olympiad. At the same time, both tournaments embody the same ideals of building solidarity and strong values through excellence in sport. As trusted ally of the International Olympic Committee, the Fédération Internationale de Natation fulfils its duties well.