The United States, China, and Hungary have been tabbed as hosts for the first edition of the new FINA Champions Swim Series that will launch in 2019. The three-meet event that will offer over $3.9 million in prize money was announced during FINA meetings in December in what seemed to be a direct response to the rise of the International Swimming League (ISL).
According to Russian Swimming Federation president Vladimir Salnikov, the 50-meter meets will include only final heats (no prelims) and only World champions, Olympic champions, World Record holders, and other highly-ranked international swimmers. The competition is expected to be held from March to May of 2019. Each meet will take place over 3 days.
SwimSwam has spoken to several high-level elite athletes, who indicated interest in the series because of the significant prize money on offer, but most of them said that they would only participate if the meets were easy to travel to. That’s because of the timing ahead of the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, which will be held from July 12th-28th.
FINA has indicated that they wouldn’t approve many ISL events because they conflicted with the FINA competition calendar, though they haven’t yet mentioned interference with the individual training calendars of athletes.
The $3.9 million purse will make the series the largest prize offering in pool swimming history.