FINA announced in 2012 that they intended to combine the World Aquatics Championships and World Masters Championships into a single site in 2015, with hopes to take full advantage into the construction and work put into the huge temporary pools that are becoming the norm for meets of this stature.
Today, the Russian Swimming Federation has set the dates to make that a reality.
The 2015 World Masters Championships will begin on August 9th, 2015 in Kazaan, Russia and run through the 16th. That means that the first day of the World Masters Championships will overlap the final day of the World aquatics Championships.
This Masters meet is an absolutely monstrous competition. In Riccione, Italy in 2012, the last edition of this meet, there were almost 10,000 participants, with 28,878 individual and 1,556 relay entries in the meet. Compare that to the 2013 FINA World Aquatics Championships, which had just 2,293 athletes entered, and the scope of the Masters Championships becomes more clear.
The World Masters Championships are currently held in even numbered years, with FINA recognizing participants in age groups 25 & up. The 2014 event will run from July 27th-August 10th in Montreal, Canada.
The benefits of this new hosting pattern are multi-fold. For one, as much as the Worlds will benefit the World Masters, the World Masters can benefit Worlds. As swimming arenas get larger-and-larger, there’s more uncertainty about filling the big stadiums, and this could entice masters swimmers to perhaps show up a bit earlier and buy tickets to the Worlds.
Even moreso, this Kazan setup is ideal for a meet on the scale of World Masters. Leftover from Worlds will be the Kazan Arena – an outdoor 45,000 seat soccer stadium that will be covered, reduced to 12,000 seats, and have two temporary pools installed on its pitch for this event.
Next door is the Aquatics Palace, which is the 4,200 seat pool arena (think IUPUI-sized) that was built to host the World University Games. That facility has two 50 x 25m pools, plus a 33.3×25 meter diving well.
In addition, the sports-mad city of Kazan will pull in 6 more quality pools as training grounds, meaning that there will be north of 10 pools to support the 10,000 athletes (including 4 that are 50-meter competition-worthy pools in the main compound). Things will still be crowded, but this will be by far the most impressive facility scale we’ve seen yet for this type of event (though Riccione is a pretty impressive facility of its own).