Just when we thought the elite international swimming competition schedule was gelling into place after the postponement of this year’s FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, another major shakeup has been announced.
“The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and FINA President Husain Al-Musallam today announced an agreement for Hungary’s capital city to hold a FINA World Championships from 18 June – 3 July 2022,” reads FINA‘s announcement.
“The agreement ensures athletes have a global aquatics championship to target in the summer of 2022. The agreement was reached after approval from the FINA Bureau today.”
These extraordinary championships will still feature the five FINA disciplines of swimming, diving, water polo, artistic swimming and open water.
“As an aquatics community, we are finding solutions around the pandemic and today’s announcement is an important step in this process,” FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said.
“We know we need to be imaginative in our approach in navigating through the current health crisis for our athletes. Today’s agreement is a testament to this work. FINA also recognises that the pandemic is evolving differently according to time and place. We are extremely fortunate to have event hosts that share our passion for aquatics and have the willingness, capability and flexibility to organise FINA’s most prestigious event. We are deeply grateful to all our hosts and know that aquatics athletes feel the same way.”
“With four FINA World Championships and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games over the next four years, we are maximising the racing opportunities and earnings potential for established and emerging aquatics athletes alike,” FINA President Al-Musallam added.
This will be the first FINA World Championships in a couple of decades that does not involve the creation of temporary pools, according to a February 7 press conference on the announcement. The World Championships is instead meant to support athletes and create a competitive environment, rather than involve a great expenditure of money, officials said.
FINA reportedly agreed to exempt the 2022 competition from having a 10,000 swimming capacity, and there is currently no high-dive discipline for cost-saving purposes, though FINA is allegedly still looking for a venue for that competition. In addition, sports will be spread throughout Budapest and into surrounding cities, including artistic swimming events in Margaret Island and Szechy pool; and water polo events in Margaret Island, Szeged, Sopron, and Debrechen. Swimming and diving will take place at Duna Arena, and open water swimming will take place at Lake Lupa.
This inserted edition of the World Championships now forces federations to revise their training blocks once again, as their target meets and training schedules were already now geared towards Fukuoka next year as the next Worlds meet.
Additionally, 2022 Budapest now overlaps with the new International Swimming League season 4, whose schedule of competitions is set to span June through December.
The insertion of this meet also means we are set to see a World Championships now in 3 consecutive years: 2022 Budapest, 2023 Fukuoka, 2024 Doha.
Finally, those in the Commonwealth Games and European Championships realms may see their hectic summer break down like this:
June 26th – July 3rd – 2022 World Championships
July 29th – August 8th – 2022 Commonwealth Games
August 11th – August 17th – 2022 European Championships
Look for further analysis posts on what these Championships may mean to the global competitive landscape as we unfold its impact.