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.


  • 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.’


  • 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.


  • 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.


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.


  • 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.


Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Let’s say for Chase Kalisz. He’s probably only invited for his 400IM. Is he able to add events on top of it? He is still very competitive in the 200 breast and 200 fly.

Reply to  Thomas
1 year ago

He also won the 200IM in Budapest.
200 fly? Le Clos, Seto, Cseh, Kenderesi, Milák… 200 breast? Japanese, Russians, etc.

Reply to  Brownish
1 year ago

My bad I didn’t realize 200IM was also an event.

Reply to  Thomas
1 year ago

And I think 400 IM won’t be, according to FINA’s press releases.

1 year ago

i wonder if the pro-ISL guys will boycott this meets. peaty, Andrew, sjostrom, katinka..

Reply to  Swimming4silver
1 year ago

Why? All they wanted was money. I will be very much surprised to not see there money hungry Hosszu unless it is the competition of Olympic or WC level of intensity. And that is the problem. It can be easily another world cup. Inviting champions from the past but not the swimmers with the highest current ranking may cause the weak field. But how to identify these ranking if the specifics of swimming competition is that swimmers are trying to peak only one time per season. And that is one tricky move by FINA. If a swimmer is focusing on a good form in the Spring for big money then do the same in the Summer for the World Championships… Read more »

1 year ago

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

Reply to  Ecoach
1 year 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.

Read More »