Fina revamps Swimming World Cup calendar

Fina, the global governing body of aquatic sports, has unveiled a revamped calendar and format for its 2018 Swimming World Cup.

For the 30th edition of the annual event, Fina has designed a brand new concept which will integrate meets held in 25m-pools as well as meets in 50m-pools, with the main objective to increase the level of participation.

Traditionally split across seven to nine locations, the 2018 circuit is divided into three clusters, including two legs in the first two stages and three in the final cluster. The 2017 World Cup was due to include nine meets, only for Dubai to exit at a late stage.

The 2018 calendar features seven meets, one of which is yet to be confirmed, with Dubai not featuring. The 2018 World Cup will get off the blocks in Kazan, Russia on September 7-9. The capital of Tatarstan hosted the 2015 edition of the Fina World Championships and replaces Moscow on the calendar.

The following weekend, from September 13-15, the swimmers will race in Doha, Qatar, also a host of the World Swimming Championships (25m) in 2014. Both meets will be held in a 50m-pool, with a total of 32 individual events and two relays.

The second cluster will be raced in 25m-pools, with 2017 World Championships organiser Budapest, Hungary to welcome the circuit from October 4-6. Budapest’s event will be preceded by the yet to be confirmed leg on September 28-30.

The third and final cluster, held in 25m pools, will take place in Asia. The Chinese capital Beijing will commence this cluster on November 2-4, followed by Tokyo, Japan on November 9-11 and Singapore on November 15-17. Clusters two and three comprise 34 individual events and two relays.

Fina noted that swimmer will be allowed to compete across an unlimited number of individual events, however only the best three results will count toward the ranking/scoring. In July, Hungarian swimming star Katinka Hosszu announced the formation of the Global Association of Professional Swimmers (GAPS), a new body designed to drive change in the sport.

The announcement came after Hosszu, who won three gold medals at the 2016 summer Olympic Games, openly criticised Fina for introducing regulations limiting the number of World Cup events athletes can enter, calling on fellow swimmers to take a stand against the move and other aspects of the sport.

The SwimSwam website noted that Fina’s announcement did not clarify whether athletes can still win prize money in more than three events. It added that the changes should make the World Cup points race closer and more dramatic, but continue to limit multi-disciplinarians like Hosszu.

Last year’s top male and female finishers of the World Cup were South Africa’s Chad Le Clos and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom.