5/31/17 – Post has been updated with prize money breakdown.
Today, FINA announced that it will be implementing changes to the structure of this year’s FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup in order to “attract more Stars (sic) and improve the exposure and visibility of this top level event.” One major change will be a cap of four individual events for each swimmer per World Cup stop.
Though the swimming’s international governing body didn’t frame it this way, the new cap on events is likely in response to the Hungarian Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu‘s absolute dominance in the series over the last few years. Last year, she picked up 73 golds, 23 silvers, and 9 bronzes in an event program that included just nine meets. Her swim-every-event strategy earned her a whopping $386,000 in prize money in 2016, $325,000 in 2015, and $389,000 in 2014.
Another change with the potential to shake up the event is a bit more difficult to parse out. In their press release, FINA says “Olympic and World medallists will have direct access to finals.” In its most limited interpretation, this could mean that a swimmer who medals at the FINA World Championships this summer in Budapest has the option of sitting out morning prelims of the event they medaled in and then bumping out the eighth-place swimmer for a free spot in finals. However, a more liberal interpretation could mean that an Olympic butterfly medalist from 1992 (cough, Gold Medal Mel) could potentially show up to the finals of, say, the 1500 free and have a guaranteed finals slot. (We have reached out to FINA for comment on this and will hopefully have clarification soon.)
FINA will also be extending the number of swimmers per event who win prize money. In the past, an individual gold was worth $1,500; silver was $1,000; and bronze was $500 (for a total of $3,000 per event). In 2017 the top six swimmers in each individual event will win a prize ($1,500 for first; $1,000 for second; $500 for third; $400 for fourth; $300 for fifth; and $200 for sixth for a total of $3,900 per individual event). Relays will have a monetary prize of $3,000 for first; $2,000 for second; and $1,000 for third. Relay prize money will be awarded to the winning country’s national federation, which will decide whether to keep the money or distribute it to the athletes. Only relays representing national federations (and not those representing clubs) will be eligible for prize money.
Other changes outlined in the release include a maximum of 25 events per world cup stop, “enhanced sport presentation and TV production,” changes in the medal ceremonies, and additional on-site promotional activities.
You can read the full press release below:
FINA is happy to present the 2017 edition of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup, which will incorporate a series of innovations, aiming at attracting more Stars and improve the exposure and visibility of this top-level event.
Held between August and November, this year’s competition (in 25m-pool) will comprise nine legs in accordance with the following circuit:
Moscow (RUS), August 2-3
Berlin (GER), August 6-7
Eindhoven (NED), August 11-12
Doha (QAT), September 22-23
Dubai (UAE), September 26-27
Hong Kong (HKG), September 30 – October 1
Beijing (CHN), November 10-11
Tokyo (JPN), November 14-15
Singapore (SGP), November 18-19
The main improvements, to be implemented as soon as this year, focus on:
- Olympic and World medallists will have direct access to finals;
- Maximum of 25 events per leg – over a three-leg cluster, each event (i.e. 50m breast, 200m back, 400m IM, 1500m free…) is swum twice and up to six times during the Series;
- Increased awards for each race, with the first six ranked swimmers getting prize money (total per race: US$ 3’900). Relays will also be entitled to prize money. The overall amount for prize money will ascend to over US$ 2 million;
- Maximum of four individual races (plus relays) per swimmer/per leg;
- Enhanced sport presentation and TV production in all legs;
- Additional promotional activities on-site, involving the participating Stars;
- The medal ceremonies will be held at the end of each day, in the form of a Parade of Champions.
Thanks to these new features, which received favourable feedback from athletes and coaches, FINA hopes to definitively consolidate World Cup’s status as the most important swimming event outside the frame of the FINA World Championships and FINA World Swimming Championships (25m).
“Our goal is always to organise great events with the presence of our Stars. Giving them additional recognition and visibility will certainly foster their participation and involvement with the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup. The continuous support of prestigious cities, with emblematic venues, is also a guarantee of success for this fundamental competition in our calendar”, said FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione.