FINA will now have mixed-gender events in four of the six recognized disciplines under its banner after a vote at the Extraordinary Congress in Doha, Qatar that began Saturday.
FINA is adding mixed-gender events in diving and synchronized swimming to the existing ones in both pool and open water swimming.
In diving, the events that will be added will be a mixed synchro on the 3-meter and 10-meter events. This will present interesting challenges, as scoring in the synchro events are based partially upon the “similarity of the height” during the approach and takeoff. While on the platform, that won’t be as big of an issue, but on the springboard event, the height between male and female divers can be significantly different.
In synchro, FINA approved the addition of mixed duets in both the technical and free competitions. Currently, men don’t compete in synchro in any capacity at the Olympics, the FINA World Aquatics Championships or at the FINA Synchro World Cup. Male participation in the sport, however, has been growing, and they are frequently seen in national-level competitions in the U.S., Canada, and France, among other places.
There is a growing international championship for men competed in compliance with FINA regulations called the Men’s Cup.
No timeline has been announced by FINA yet for incorporating these mixed-gender events into their international championships.