2015 FINA World Championships: Analyzing Results by Country

We’ve had a field day poring through post-World Championships data, as they tell an interesting story about trends in national swimming programs. While the United States had arguably their weakest World Championships showing since 2009, other countries fared much better than during the past six years.

If we look at the number of finalists per country as a proxy for program depth, China, Great Britain, Russia and Canada showed great promise, with their strongest team perfomances since 2009. In medal count, Great Britain, Hungary and Sweden were better than they had been at any time in the last four World Championships. (Nota bene: those data are skewed as the mixed relays added two events to the total.)

France, Hungary, Australia and Sweden all had a particularly high percentage of finalists go on to medal.

Robin Pla, a researcher with the French Swimming Federation (FFN), doctoral candidate at the l’Université Paris Descartes, and assistant coach at France’s elite National Institute of Sport and Physical Education (INSEP) has drilled even deeper into the Kazan results. Pla has analyzed each race from every conceivable angle, and in a collaboration with SwimSwam, he has provided us with some of his most interesting findings. Click here to see Pla’s graphs for SwimSwam. (The rest of his analysis can be found @RobiinRoad on Twitter)


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bobo gigi
5 years ago

Only 10 finalists for France We have sent a lot of tourists in Kazan. 9 on the men’s side 6 medals Great ratio! 🙂 6 on the men’s side Our girls simply don’t have the world level right now. That’s why Fabrice Pellerin suggests to put very tough minimum times to do at next French nationals to qualify for Rio. Even if the result is no French girl at olympic games. To change the mentality and raise the bar much higher. USA Swimming should be well inspired to do that with your sprinters. 4 golds Great ratio! ) The French federation is satisfied. Cool. Without Manaudou and Lacourt…. But it has always been the case in French swimming. 3 or… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

“You need taller boys and girls”

I don’t really see this as an issue. There are already plenty of tall swimmers in the US at every level. In fact I’d say that was the least of the problems.

Reply to  KeithM
5 years ago

Size is not the matter here !

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

“taller boys and girls”

Bobo dearest,

are we watching the same sport?
The men’s silver 100 free medalist and fastest man with relay split is a good 3 inches shorter than Adrian.

The women’s double gold medalist is shorter than most American sprinters.

5 years ago

Bobo, I think what you’re saying about the lack of depth at the top level (ie: gold medalists) is true of every country! Without Sjostrom, Sweden does badly. Without Hosszu and Cseh, Hungary is unsuccessful. What I see is an era of “Star Swimmers” in which a relatively small pool of athletes from all over the globe (rather than just the traditional swimming powerhouses) are on all the podiums. Perhaps the US, Australia and China have a few more of them, but it’s exciting that countries like Lithuania and Jamaica can produce international medalists in our sport now.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Danjohnrob
5 years ago

Yup, every time someone says, “USA would be nothing without Ledecky”, I’m always tempted to say, China would be nothing without Sun or something in the similar. It’s generally true with every country.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
5 years ago

But that was not true in the past (Not so far past)

US usually had multiple individual gold medallists, this time it was only Ledecky and Locthe
At 2013 US had Greevers, Lochte, Ledecky and Franklin, before US had Soni, Vollmer, Hardy and others.. US genereally had someone very amazing (Phelps before, now Ledecky) and other pretty good swimmers, now they still have the very amazing one, but the number of pretty good swimmers (Compared to the rest of other, who has caught up US) in smaller.

bobo gigi
5 years ago

First French relay world medal ever in 2003 thanks to the bronze of the men’s 4X100 free relay. Nothing before. Since then: M 4X100 free relay bronze in 2007, bronze in 2009, silver in 2011, gold in 2013, gold in 2015. M 4X100 medley relay gold in 2013 and bronze in 2015 W 4X200 free relay bronze in 2013 US relays had a bad performance this year with only 2 golds out of 6 relays (olympic events) and only 4 medals out of 6. But it was much much worse in 2001 with 0 gold medal in the 6 relays and only 3 medals (2 silvers and 1 bronze)! Only 1 bronze for the men’s relays! In the 4X200 free… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

I knew that 2001 was bad for the US, but zero golds? I didn’t remember it being that bad. Considering the US was dominant in both 2000 and 2004, I don’t think a poor (but not awful) team showing in Kazan dooms Rio by any means. Another point of interest- many people have claimed that the rest of the world is suddenly getting much faster, which is pushing out Americans from medals into 4th-8th or even missing the final. In 1976, 8 countries won a medal. 3 countries won more 5 or more medals. 1988- 20 countries won a medal. 4 countries won 5+ 2000- 16 countries won a medal. 4 countries won 5+ 2012- 19 countries won a medal.… Read more »

bobo gigi
Reply to  mcgillrocks
5 years ago

3 US relays disqualified in 2001! 😆
2 early starts in the men’s 4X100 medley and the women’s 4X200 free. 😆
Looks like there were timing problems too. I didn’t remember that either.
And the men’s 4X100 free for Nate Dusing replacing Gregory Busse without announcing the change at least one hour before the competition. 😆
A lot of drama!
I’ve found that recap.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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