# Anomolies, Superlatives, and Peculiarities from the World Championships Medal Tables and Results

July 31st, 2011 International

Rather than bog down our final day 8 summary with all of the different intersting (or maybe less than interesting) medal results, we thought we’d give it its own piece. Read below as we peer through countries’ different medal counts and why they’re significant (or insignificant). Some of these are repeats, and some of them will be new, but they all be minutae that might win you a swimming trivia contest one day, so read closely!

Disclaimer: none of this math has been verified independently, so there’s a chance that some of the results are wrong. If you find any wrong, leave them in the comments, and I’ll check into it.

Pool Swimming

 Rank  Nation Total Total 42 38 Gold Silver Bronze 1 United States 16 5 8 29 2 China 5 2 7 14 3 Brazil 3 0 0 3 4 Australia 2 8 3 13 5 France 2 3 5 10 6 Great Britain 2 3 0 5 Italy 2 3 0 5 8 Netherlands 2 1 3 6 9 Denmark 2 1 0 3 10 Russia 1 3 0 4 11 Sweden 1 1 0 2 12 Hungary 1 0 3 4 13 Belarus 1 0 0 1 Norway 1 0 0 1 South Korea 1 0 0 1 16 Japan 0 4 2 6 17 Canada 0 3 1 4 18 Poland 0 1 0 1 19 Germany 0 0 5 5 20 South Africa 0 0 3 3

• The USA exceeded their 2009 medal count by 7 total medals, with most of the difference coming in the form of 6 golds. They were still well shy of their dominant medal total of 36 earned in 2007.
• The USA more than doubled the medal total of #2 ranked China. The Americans also more than tripled China’s gold medal count.
• China finished 2nd in the medal standings, which is their highest finish since 1994 (where they were atop the table, mostly due to domination on the women’s side).
• If you were to use the USA Swimming Grand Prix scoring method (5 points for gold, 3 points for silver, 1 point for bronze), then the top 5 would be: 1. USA (103 points), 2. China (38 points), 3. Australia (29 points), 4. Japan (24 points), 5. Italy/UK (19 points).
• Despite what we hear about swimming becoming increasingly global, we had fewer countries earn medals this year (20) than we have in any World Championship since 2001 (19). In total, only 37 of the 202 FINA member countries earned a single finals swim in this meet, though that was a step up from 2009 where there were 35.
• Denmark won more gold medals at this Championship (2) than their previous gold medal total in all previous championships (1).
• Alexander Dale Oen won Norway’s first ever gold medal in any World Championship discipline in the 100 breaststroke
• Japan is great at medaling, though not necessarily at gold-medaling. In this meet, they won more medals than any other nation with out a gold (6), and this is not a new phenomenon. In the history of the World Championships, Japan has earned 81 total medals, which is the 8th-most all-time, but shockingly only 6 have been gold. In fact, out of the 38 countries that have won medals in any discipline at the World Championships, nobody has a lower percentage of gold than the Japanese.
• At the opposite end of the spectrum is Brazil, who seems to rarely win anything BUT gold. They took 3 championships in this meet, but were unable to get another pool swimmer on a podium. Out of 10 pool swimming medals in the history of the program, 6 have been golds.
• Though China may have overtaken Australia in the medal count, Australia as a program is still superior by the measure of 34 finals swims to China’s 27. For reference, the USA had 53.
• The top 5 countries on the medals table represented 5 different continents: The USA (North America), China (Asia), Brazil (South America), Australia (Oceania), and France (Europe). That’s never happened before at the World Championships. The only African country to score a medal was South Africa with 3 bronze medals.
• Michael Phelps now has 33 individual Long Course World Championship medals, inculding 26 gold, 6 silver, and 1 bronze all-time. That ties Sweden on the all-time medals list for 15th place. If he were his own country, his gold medal count would rank him 7th overall: Just ahead of Italy, and just behind Germany. He also took his 5th gold medal in the men’s 200 fly, which bumps him ahead of Grant Hackett of Australia for the most individual titles in any one event (Hackett’s four in the 1500 free were consecutive). The USA’s Aaron Peirsol also won the 200 backstroke four times before his retirement earlier this year.
• France’s 10 medals is the most that they’ve ever won in a World Championships, surpassing their previous high of 7 set in 2009 and 2007.
• Russia failed to win a relay medal at the World Championships for the first time since the fall of the USSR. If you count the USSR and Russia as a continuous entity (the change was first represented at the 1994 World Championships) this is the first time they’v ever not won a relay medal. The Russian Men also failed to win a medal for the first time in the history of the World Championships (when traced through the USSR).
• Total continental medal counts: Europe (47), North America (33), Asia (21), Oceania (13), Africa (3), South America (3) (with Russia included in the European total).

Record Figures

• We commented throughout this meet how well the New Zealanders had been swimming, and though they ended up with no representation on the medals table, they will come away with a ton of new records. In total, the Kiwis broke a totla of 9 National Records in 7 different events.
• Individually, nobody set more National Records in this meet than Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of the Bahamas, who broke her own National Records in the 50 and 100 frees a total 5 times. There were several swimmers with 4, including Gergo Kis of Hungary, Daryna Zevina of the Ukraine, Konrad Czerniak of Poland, and Ekaterina Avramova of Bulgaria.
• Among the more significant records that snuck under the radar include South Africa’s Wendy Trott in the women’s 1500 free (16:05.63) to set a new African Record, Australia’s Belinda Hocking with a new Oceanic Record in the 200 back (2:06.06), China’s Xuanxu Li with a new Asian Record in the women’s 1500 free (15:58.02), and Japan’s Yuuya Horihata in the men’s 400 IM (4:11.98).
• The 6 swimmers who had to swim the most races in Shanghai: Michael Phelps (15), Ryan Lochte (13), Jeanette Ottesen (13), Alicia Coutts (12), Yuliya Efimova (12), and Julia Wilkinson (12). Lochte races a total of 2900 meters, the most of any non-distance swimmer.

Full Event Medal Table

Below is the full medal table from the entire Aquatics Championship that includes swimming, open water swimming, diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming.

Rank Nation Total[2] Total 68 64 Gold Silver Bronze 1 United States 17 6 9 32 2 China* 15 13 8 36 3 Russia 8 6 4 18 4 Brazil 4 0 0 4 5 Italy 3 4 2 9 6 Great Britain 3 3 0 6 7 Australia 2 10 4 16 8 France 2 4 5 11 9 Netherlands 2 1 3 6 10 Greece 2 1 1 4 11 Denmark 2 1 0 3 12 Germany 1 3 9 13 13 Sweden 1 1 0 2 14 Hungary 1 0 4 5 15 Belarus 1 0 0 1 Bulgaria 1 0 0 1 Norway 1 0 0 1 South Korea 1 0 0 1 Switzerland 1 0 0 1 20 Canada 0 4 3 7 21 Japan 0 4 2 6 22 Spain 0 1 5 6 23 Poland 0 1 0 1 Serbia 0 1 0 1 25 South Africa 0 0 3 3 26 Mexico 0 0 2 2 27 Croatia 0 0 1 1 Ukraine 0 0 1 1

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Robin
9 years ago

I’m certain you didn’t mean to leave Africa out of the list of 6 inhabited continents.

surf
9 years ago

You know, when Coubertin created the Olympic Rings, he considered North and South America as one – “America”. That’s why there’s only five rings: Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania (or “Australasia”) and America (sometimes referred to as “The Americas”).

Cayley Guimarães
9 years ago

USSR and DDR had state-run programes. After the fall, talented dispersed: a) to their original republic (Ukraine) or b) to other countries (Jivanevskya to Spain). L. Krayzelber, Alexandrov et. al… European countries have differing programes, with widely different results. Sweden, Italy, recently in France..Germany seems to have a more solid programe, but has failed to churn out talent as it did before (Fräulein-Wunders, Antje Bultschultz, van Almissick, Rupprath..). I will keep Herr PB and Fräulein BS out of this list. No wonder most talented european swimmers are found in the States or Australia, two with the strongest programme. Worldwide, there are some Islands: Canada, South Africa, etc. As for Brazil, swimming is done at clubs, as a minor department of… Read more »