FINA Postpones World Junior Swimming Championships Until 2022 Amid Pandemic

FINA has decided to postpone the 2021 World Junior Swimming Championships until August 2022. The event was originally scheduled for August 24-29, 2021 in Kazan, Russia, but will instead be held during yet-announced dates in August of 2022.

The decision to pull out of the event amid the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic comes after some nations, including notably Australia, announced that they would not send a team to the 2021 meet because of coronavirus concerns. While Australia has escaped the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, that means that the country has very limited natural immunity to the virus.

While a late start to the vaccine program has begun to gain steam (as of publishing, Bloomberg reports that 4.5 million vaccine doses have been given in Australia – enough to vaccinate about 8.8% of the population), they still lag behind much of the developed world. Olympic athletes and coaches were jumped to the front of the vaccine line, but the country decided to bypass the World Junior Championships, along with the World University Games, rather than continue to press athletes to the forefront.

While FINA has not released the news to media yet, the host All-Russia Swimming Federation announced the postponement this week.

A translation of the letter, posted in Russian:

The health and safety of our athletes and all those participating in FINA events is our top priority. There is no doubt that Kazan is more than ready to host athletes in the safest possible conditions this summer. However, in fulfilling our duty and mission to hold competitions at the highest level, we must also ensure that athletes from different countries have equal opportunities to participate in such prestigious competitions.

We understand that, despite all the measures taken, the risks and consequences cannot be completely eliminated. In addition, international travel in the current situation remains one of the biggest problems for parents of underage athletes and is a major risk factor that is very difficult to control. In addition, travel restrictions imposed by various countries can be tightened again at short notice, depending on the epidemiological situation.>It is anticipated that the aforementioned factors could lead to difficulties that will affect the potential number of young talented competitors in the highly anticipated World Junior Swimming Championships in Russia.

After a thorough discussion of this issue, the FINA management came to the decision to consider the possibility of postponing the planned championship until the end of August 2022.

The 2021 World Aquatics Championships were postponed last year, early in the pandemic, to May 2022 in Fukuoka, Japan.

The World Junior Championships are held every 2 years and play host to the top junior-aged swimmers in the world. Female swimmers aged 14-17 and male swimmers aged 15-18, based on their age at the end of the year of competition, are eligible for the event.

While individuals in this age range are not exempt from the serious complications of COVID-19, including death, they are far less likely to show severe symptoms or any symptoms at all. Many vaccines are also now approved for individuals in these younger age ranges.

FINA has not responded to a question about whether they would extend age eligibility by one year to capture those athletes who would have been in their final year of age eligibility in 2021. Other postponed events, including the World University Games, have extended age eligibility.

At the most recent World Junior Swimming Championships in Budapest in 2019, the United States led all nations with 37 total medals, including 18 gold. Russia was 2nd with 7 gold in 22 total medals, followed by Australia (4 gold, 13 total), Italy (3 gold, 12 total), and Canada (2 gold, 12 total).

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Sammy
4 months ago

Interesting. I wonder if they would extend age eligibility? If I was in my last year of juniors, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

Shaq
4 months ago

Dumb decision

KeithM
4 months ago

Slightly off topic but how will the US select it’s 2022 WC team given the timing? Setting up a trials meet would be tricky for the college swimmers, not only in terms of backing up from NCAAs but in terms of their classes should they make the world’s team.

kiki
Reply to  KeithM
4 months ago

Maybe they can set up a trials meet taking place in a pro swim series stop sometime in March or April

Mr Piano
Reply to  KeithM
4 months ago

They should have set worlds for late July 2022

Troyy
Reply to  Mr Piano
4 months ago

Comm Games are in July.

Confused!
4 months ago

For what reason?!

Daniel Diehl
4 months ago

I wish there was a good place to go to find out how to qualify for the Jr meets.

SwimDad
Reply to  Daniel Diehl
4 months ago

swim fast and be 18 & Under

coach
Reply to  Daniel Diehl
4 months ago

It’s probably located in the same section as USA Swimming’s communication about the junior team director position (which has been vacant for a year).

Last edited 4 months ago by coach
Dressel'sStall
4 months ago

what pandemic?

YeahBaby
4 months ago

Although I think they could have hosted in a safe manner, I get the decision.
FINA now better find a solution for those swimmers who missed their opportunity for two straight years!

NC Fan
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

And Jr Pan Pacs in 2020 for the same junior cohort. So likely an entire class of top juniors with no travel opportunity to represent the US since no chance to attend Mel Zajak or Mare Nostrum as a team either.

Last edited 4 months ago by NC Fan
Covid bummer
Reply to  NC Fan
4 months ago

COVID bummer continues

Corn Pop
Reply to  YeahBaby
4 months ago

That sounds like a threat .

kiki
4 months ago

Any word on OW Junior Worlds?

SHRKB8
Reply to  kiki
4 months ago

Aussie selected swimmers have been given a letter stating Fina unable to provide a where and how they intend to conduct a covid safe event so Swimming Australia have cancelled their participation even if Fina go ahead with the event at some point. I can’t find anything on Fina site with any more information either.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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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