One day before the kickoff of the International Swimming League (ISL), FINA has announced that it will be bringing back its Champions Series for 2020.
FINA launched the Champions Series last year, and many called it an attempt at mirroring the ISL format, with a team-based competition focusing on large prize money sums for athletes and a spectator-friendly competition. FINA will continue the Champions Series in 2020, though the tour will drop from three stops to two and will stay entirely in Asia.
FINA’s press release says it will hold Champions Series meets in Shenzen, China on January 14-15 and then in Beijing, China on January 18-19. The prize money will remain the same as last year:
- 1st place: $10,000
- 2nd place: $8,000
- 3rd place: $6,000
- 4th place: $5,000
Each of the meet’s 28 individual events will offer prizes to the top four finishers. Only four athletes will enter each race. The FINA release also says prize money will be available for relays – both series stops will include two mixed-gender relays. All athletes will also earn appearance fees and will have their travel, lodging and food taken care of.
In contrast to the ISL series, the Champions Series will once again take place in long course meters. (The ISL is all in short course meters). The focus on Asian host cities is also a key difference, as the ISL is mostly based in Europe and the United States, and has pulled most of the top swimmers from Australia, but has had very light participation among Asian nations.