Fina, the world governing body for aquatic sport, has announced that Guangzhou, Budapest and Indianapolis will host the opening edition of its Champions Swim Series.
Fina last month revealed plans for a new invitation-only swimming competition that it claims will develop a fresh focus on the highest-level athletes. The Champions Swim Series will debut this year and its formation by the Fina Bureau comes as the federation fights a continuing battle against organisers of the proposed International Swimming League (ISL).
Fina has now announced that the first event will take place in Guangzhou, China, on April 27-28. Budapest, the Hungarian capital, will follow on May 11-12; while the US city of Indianapolis will close the inaugural edition on May 31-June 1. All three meets will be swum in 50m pools.
Fina added that 45 male swimmers from 15 nations and 37 female competitors from 17 countries have been formally invited to take part in the three-leg circuit. The federation said the list of selected athletes includes Rio 2016 Olympic medallists, Budapest 2017 World Championships’ medallists, world record-holders, and leaders of the 2018 Fina World Swimming Ranking.
The competition format of the Champions Swim Series includes only direct finals, with four athletes per final. Individual races include 50m, 100m and 200m in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly, plus the 400m free and 200m individual medley, for both men and women.
Travel and accommodation expenses, as well as an appearance fee will be paid for the participating athletes. Fina said “attractive” prize money will be paid in each individual race. Winners will receive $10,000 (€8,790), with those following them gaining $8,000, $6,000 and $5,000, respectively.
The winning teams in relay races will be awarded $16,000, with fourth place receiving $2,000. Fina will award a $20,000 bonus for each new world record established during the competition.
“Fina is confident about the interest this competition will generate among the world’s best swimmers,” Fina president Julio Maglione said.
“The original competition format, alongside the show we want to create around swimming and the very attractive prize money distribution are important elements characterising the new ‘Champions Swim Series’. With the superb performances of our stars, we will provide a new image of swimming to the world.”