FINA General Survey 2019 Logs Nearly 35 Million Registered Aquatic Athletes

Have you ever wondered how many registered aquatic athletes there are in the world? The 2019 FINA General Survey undertook the monumental effort of trying to estimate that number via questioning its 209 member federations, with 198 responding to the call.

The resulting data revealed approximately 35 million registered athletes across the 6 aquatics disciplines (swimming, open water swimming, water polo, diving, high diving, and artistic (synchronized) swimming). This does include, for example, registered Masters swimmers, and while it doesn’t include unregistered fitness swimmers, is still a useful statistic.

The survey also counted approximately 92,000 lap pools in the world, 290,000 aquatic sport coaches, 36,000 swim clubs, and 160,000 officials, referees, and judges.

About 106,000 of those nearly 35 million aquatic athletes were identified as elite swimmers and about 35,000 of them  were identified as elite water polo players.

Of the 92,000 pools that FINA found, there are 12,271 50 meter pools, 25,164 25 meter pools, and 52,862 pools of other sizes. Of those 52,862 ‘other’ pool sizes, most are in the Americas, probably the 25 yard pools that dominate American swimming.

While it’s hard to make comparisons to 2017 data, because then only 167 national federations responded, we can make comparisons within the 2019 data. Almost 96% of registered aquatic athletes in the world, according to the survey, are pool swimmers.

Athletes in Performance Groups, by discipline:

  1. Swimming – 1191946
  2. Water Polo – 204468
  3. Artistic Swimming – 39397
  4. Open Water Swimming – 36091
  5. Diving – 21917
  6. High Diving – 205

Total Registered Athletes, by discipline:

  1. Swimming – 30,882,984
  2. Open Water Swimming – 2,582,675
  3. Water Polo – 478,791
  4. Artistic Swimming – 134,789
  5. Diving – 77,101
  6. High Diving – 30,415

Charts and Graphs

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What constitutes being identified as ‘elite’?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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