FINA Champions Swim Series Set To Kick Off This Weekend In China

FINA Champions Swim Series 2019 #1 – Guangzhou

  • April 27-28, 2019
  • Guangzhou, China
  • Guangdong Olympic Sports Centre Swimming Natatorium
  • LCM (50m)
  • Saturday – 7:30 pm local / 7:30 am ET Opening Ceremony, 8:00 start
  • Sunday – 7:30 pm local / 7:30 am ET start
  • FINA Champions Series Info
  • Entry List

A total of 109 swimmers will compete in the inaugural FINA Champions Swim Series event this weekend in Guangzhou, China, as the sport’s governing body introduces an intriguing new format that will combine both entertainment and competition amongst the world’s best.

The Format

Each race will have only four swimmers competing in a timed final format. Initially, the four athletes invited to compete in each event were:

  • the reigning Olympic champion
  • the reigning World Champion
  • the current world record holder
  • the #1 ranked swimmer in the world this season

If any of those swimmers declined their invite (or were duplicates, retired, etc), they would follow with the Olympic and World silver and bronze medalists, and then the next highest ranked athletes in the world until the four spots were filled.

There will also be relays with teams broken up by country.

Storylines To Watch

Monster Programs For Hosszu, Andrew

As has become the norm, Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and American Michael Andrew will both take on a big program at the two-day competition.

Both are entered in six individual events. Hosszu has the 400 free, 100 back, 200 fly, and 200 free on day one (all back-to-backs with only one men’s event in between each), and then the 200 back and 200 IM on day two.

Andrew is slated to compete in the 50 fly, 50 breast, and 200 IM on day one, and then the 100 fly, 50 back, and 100 breast on day two. There is also a chance he could add the 50 free on the second day after Andrea Vergani, one of the four entrants, was temporarily suspended for a positive test.

This is the type of schedule Hosszu is used to taking on after so many years wreaking havoc on the FINA World Cup, and with a sizeable chunk of change on the line (more on that later), don’t expect either of them to withdraw out of any of their events.

Sjostrom, Campbell Meet In Women’s Sprints

The women’s 100 freestyle will feature current world record holder Sarah Sjostrom and former record holder Cate Campbell, a preview of one of the most highly anticipated races coming up this summer at the World Championships.

The two haven’t met at a major international meet since the 2016 Olympic Games, since Campbell skipped out on the 2017 World Championships, but should lock horns in Gwangju. Since Rio, Sjostrom has established herself as the best female sprinter in the world by setting world records in the 50 and 100 in 2017, and Campbell responded in 2018 with personal bests in both, including a 52.03 in the 100 which was the fastest in the world for the year.

They come into this meet on good form, both having gone 52 in April, and should put on a show.

2016 Olympic champ in the 50 Pernille Blume will join them in both the 50 and 100, while Ranomi Kromowidjojo will also swim the 50 and Cate’s sister Bronte Campbell will race the 100. Bronte ranked second to Cate in the 100 last year, while Blume was .01 back of Sjostrom for top spot in the 50.

Sjostrom will also notably have a relatively large schedule with additional entries in the 200 free, 50 fly, and 100 fly along with the two sprint freestyle events.

Sun Leads Strong Chinese Contingent

Six-time Olympic medalist Sun Yang will be one of many Chinese swimmers competing, with the host country being represented in 18 of 28 individual events.

Sun will compete in the men’s 200 and 400 freestyle, which both end up on day two. Though they are separated by ten events, it will be a difficult double, especially with none of his competition in the 200 (Chad Le ClosDanas Rapsys, and Wang Shun) racing the 400 alongside him earlier on.

The reigning world champion in both events, Sun has been on good form so far this season holding the #2 time in the world in the 400 free (3:43.73) and the #5 time in the 200 free (1:45.73, though it is the fastest among those he’ll be racing this weekend). His biggest challenger in the 400 comes from Italian Gabriele Detti, who leads the world rankings after going 3:43.36 in early April. Jack McLoughlin and Mykhailo Romanchuk won’t be easy outs in the 400 either.

Other notable Chinese athletes competing include Xu Jiayu in the men’s 100 and 200 back, Li Zhuhao in the men’s 100 and 200 fly, Li Bingjie and Wang Jianjiahe in the women’s 200 and 400 free, and world record holder Liu Xiang in the women’s 50 back.

OTHER SWIMMERS/RACES TO WATCH

  • Chad Le Clos – The always exciting South African will compete in four events: the 100 and 200 free, and the 100 and 200 fly.
  • Men’s 50 fly – A loaded lineup will feature newly minted LCM and SCM world record holders Andrii Govorov and Nicholas Santos, reigning world champion Ben Proud, and Andrew.
  • Kliment Kolesnikov – The dynamic Russian junior will be eyeing a big summer after a monumental world record performance in the 50 back at the European Championships last August. Here he’ll be taking on the 50 and 100 back, along with the 100 free. His countryman Vladimir Morozov will also be there competing in the 50 free, 100 free, and 50 back.
  • Americans – In addition to Andrew, there are a few other American swimmers who will be competing in Guangzhou. Kelsi Dahlia was a fixture on the World Cup circuit in 2018 and will be here swimming in all three butterfly events, and Dana Vollmer will join her in the 100 as she continues her comeback in seek of a berth at the 2020 Games. Also competing will be Anthony Ervin (50 free) for the men and Molly Hannis (50, 100, 200 breast) for the women.

PRIZE MONEY

All four swimmers in each race will receive prize money. They will also earn an engagement fee for attending the event, swimming the races in which they were invited, and if required, engaging in additional activities such as press conferences.

The breakdown will be as follows:

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

WORLD RECORDS

  • There will be an additional $20,000 USD bonus awarded if a world record is broken (this does not include tying a world record).

FULL MEET SCHEDULE

DAY 1

  • Women’s 4×100 freestyle relay
  • Women’s 400 freestyle
  • Men’s 100 freestyle
  • Women’s 100 backstroke
  • Men’s 200 backstroke
  • Women’s 200 butterfly
  • Men’s 50 butterfly
  • Women’s 200 freestyle
  • Men’s 50 breaststroke
  • Women’s 100 breaststroke
  • Men’s 200 IM
  • Women’s 100 butterfly
  • Men’s 100 backstroke
  • Women’s 50 backstroke
  • Men’s 200 butterfly
  • Mixed 4×100 freestyle relay
  • Men’s 4×100 medley relay

DAY 2

  • Mixed 4×100 medley relay
  • Men’s 400 freestyle
  • Women’s 50 freestyle
  • Men’s 100 butterfly
  • Women’s 50 butterfly
  • Men’s 200 breaststroke
  • Women’s 200 backstroke
  • Men’s 50 freestyle
  • Women’s 200 breaststroke
  • Men’s 50 backstroke
  • Women’s 100 freestyle
  • Men’s 200 freestyle
  • Women’s 50 breaststroke
  • Men’s 100 breaststroke
  • Women’s 200 IM
  • Men’s 4×100 freestyle relay
  • Women’s 4×100 medley relay

*all relays are subject to confirmation and are dependent on participation

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PsychoDad

Ha, I am going there this weekend. I am at Dongguan now, next door.

PhillyMark

Is it watchable online?

PsychoDad

Some of the best swimmers in the world, so, yes, it will be watchable.

Swimming4silver

From the venue? 😁

PsychoDad

Super watchable.

Yozhik

The feed box for Hosszu and Sjostrom. Only for making their suits wet the former gets $30,000 and the later – $25,000 at this stop of the tour.
When will FINA learn finally to pay right money for right performance? If in the case of Sjostrom she will face a strong competition and will most likely show outstanding performance then nothing more than mediocre but well paid results we will be demonstrated by Hosszu.

Riez

If you were good at anything other than keyboard fighting people would be interested in your show up as well. That simple dude.

Ol' Longhorn

It isn’t their fault that they’re so dominant, but hey, keep blaming the women.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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