Calendar Revealed, Athletes Invited for 2019 FINA Champions Series

Just as more information continues to roll out regarding the 2019 International Swimming League’s (ISL) first meet series, FINA has revealed more details on its own 2019 Champions Swim Series.

FINA announced via a press release that they’ve sent out invitations to national federations for athletes chosen for their Champions Swim Series. Below, we’ve broken down an outline of what we know so far about the Champions Swim Series, per FINA‘s releases.

THE BASICS

  • There will be three meets as part of the FINA Champions Series.
  • They’ll run in the spring, prior to summer championship meets, which is different from the proposed ISL 2019 schedule, which is set for the fall.
  • The meets will be long course meters.
  • FINA sent invites to 45 male swimmers from 15 different countries, and to 37 female swimmers from 17 different countries.
  • It’s unknown who, exactly, was invited. FINA says the list of invited swimmers includes ‘Rio 2016 Olympic medallists, Budapest 2017 World Championships’ medallists, World Record holders, and leaders of the 2018 FINA World Swimming Ranking.’

THE WHEN AND THE WHERE

  • So, three meets. The first will be in Hangzhou, China, April 27 to 28, 2019. Hangzhou just held the 2018 SC World Championships.
  • The second meet is scheduled two weeks later, May 11-12, in Budapest, Hungary.
  • The third meet will be in the United States, scheduled for May 31-June 1 in Indianapolis at the IUPUI Natatorium.

MEET SPECIFICS

  • Remember, this meet is LCM, unlike many regular season international meets.
  • The meets will include only direct finals, with four athletes per final. That means no prelims.
  • Events will be the 50’s, 100’s and 200’s of every stroke, plus the 400 free, and 200 IM. No distance events. Same event lineup as the ISL.

PRIZE MONEY

Individual events

  • 1st place – $10,000 USD
  • 2nd place – $8,000 USD
  • 3rd place – $6,000 USD
  • 4th place – $5,000 USD

Relay events

  • 1st place – $16,000 USD
  • 2nd place – $12,000 USD
  • 3rd place – $8,000 USD
  • 4th place – $2,000 USD

Additional prizes/bonuses

  • Participating athletes can expect travel and accommodations, along with appearance fees, paid for.
  • New world records will come with a $20,000 bonus.

At first glance, this is a very substantial amount of money. The Pro Swim Series upped its prize money for 2019, but an event win is $1500, with $1000 for 2nd and $500 for 3rd, which is significantly less than the FINA Champions Swim Series. The FINA series is also purportedly going to have nearly $4 million in prize money across just three meets, while the PSS is a five-meet series.

Meanwhile, the ISL is listed as having a minimum of $5.3 million in prize money for event placing, only, and this does not include the intended club salaries and appearance fees. The ISL also states that the minimum of $5.3 million is a number that they’re currently at, with no official sponsors as of yet, meaning that number could rise. That money, however, is also spread across more meets – the ISL currently has a 12-meet regular season planned, plus the semi-finals and finals. That series is expected in the fall and won’t overlap, dates-wise, with the Champions Swim Series, and which is also expected to have a finals ‘tournament’ in December as part of its schedule.

QUOTES

  • FINA is confident about the interest this competition will generate among the world’s best swimmers.”- FINA President Julio C. Maglione.
  • “The original competition format, alongside the show we want to create around swimming and the very attractive prize money distribution are important elements characterizing the new ‘Champions Swim Series’. With the superb performances of our Stars, we will provide a new image of Swimming to the world.” – Maglione.

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Tammy Touchpad Error
4 years ago

RIP 400 IM

Taa
4 years ago

If the swimmer is a big taper swimmer like Townley Haas I just don’t think its worth it to upend training for six weeks just to collect $15000. So you need to get entered in more than 1 event and have a good probability of finishing in the top 2. Even Hosszu at this point is only going to win the 200IM. Would she even be invited in the 2 back or 2 fly? I suspect they will try to get swimmers multiple entries to make it worth their time so I doubt we will see any transparency in how entries are awarded.

Admin
Reply to  Taa
4 years ago

The sentiment I got from US swimmers who will be there was essentially “if it’s close by, I can just go to the one in the US without committing to all 3, it’s easy in-and-out travel and doesn’t require a lot of ‘extra,’ I’ll do it. Otherwise, it’s not worth the training interruption” (paraphrased)

Yozhik
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

Interruption of training for what? World Championships? Or ISL’s meets? Where are the priorities? With all this money rush the WC is becoming the less preferable competition. We saw already how several leading swimmers were easily skipping the season with WC.

Admin
Reply to  Yozhik
4 years ago

They indicated World Championships.

The ISL offer is a lot of money, but the World Championships are still a huge pot of money – both in terms of cash prizes, as well as rewards from the USOC and from their sponsors. A World Championship still earns a swimmer $20,000. That’s a nice chunk of change.

There’s also the prestige. Swimmers still care about World Championships. The money is nice, but for many athletes, proving in the water that they are ‘best in the world’ still means a whole lot.

Yozhik
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

If ISL’s like competition develops the way that requires to be in the best form in order to win the meaningful prize then in this case a professional swimmer will think twice about his/her season preferences.
There is some inertia in rethinking about new values and current tendencies in the sport of competitive swimming. Your arguments are correct but are coming from prehistoric period of this sport. Look what has happened to the prestige of Olympic competition in tennis. But of course it can go completely different way. For instance, with highly profitable soccer club competition the World Championships is still a huge event.

Taa
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

I would imagine that’s how they all think but that doesn’t really help build the swimming brand. I think they should allow prelims to fill the other 4 lanes. So swimmers can show up on their own and battle for prize money if they want.

Yozhik
Reply to  Taa
4 years ago

14 events and only 45/37 swimmers. It must be swimmers with more than one event.

Tim
4 years ago

Error in the article. No 400 IM at the meet which I think is bulls***

Coach Mike 1952
4 years ago

And from where did poor old FINA “suddenly” come up with this bundle of cash to become “generous”!??! Tongue in check (poking through). However, one benefit is that the swimmers – & the sport of swimming in general – will potentially be the beneficiaries since the market place is driving up the price (do we hear bidding war?). This makes it more lucrative for the sport of swimming in general. Finally, after decades.

JustAManOnTheCan
4 years ago

Will we find out who got invited?

Admin
Reply to  JustAManOnTheCan
4 years ago

I would assume that they’re still waiting for a full list of commitments.

Brownish
4 years ago

Karl, I didn’t find 400IM in FINA’s press releases (PR107/2018 and PR3/2019) only the 200.

AFlyer
4 years ago

Why it makes the invitation such a secretive thing at all? There are more swimmers qualified to the meet than FINA announced. What about the people qualified but not invited?

Swimming4silver
Reply to  AFlyer
4 years ago

yea, whats with the girls having less invitations??

channel
Reply to  Swimming4silver
4 years ago

My guess is that the invites are event-specific, and there are more women with multiple events than men. But what if swimmers turn them down? This 4 swimmer per event thing seems hard to promise unless the swimmers are locked in, which doesn’t seem like is the case.

frug
Reply to  Swimming4silver
4 years ago

Since they are limiting the field to 4 simmers per event and they seem to have worked out some sort system for invites based on performance in each event over the last 2 years, I would guess it is an issue of more women qualifying for invites in multiple events than men. Sjostrom and the Iron Lady in particular could conceivably be getting eating up for 4 or 5 slots each.

AFlyer
Reply to  frug
4 years ago

If there is a selection system, make it transparent. Otherwise, wait for another round of lawsuits.

Ecoach
4 years ago

Direct to finals with only 4 athletes per event means you get minimum $5000 just for showing up.

Tim
Reply to  Ecoach
4 years ago

Sign me up!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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