FINA, the international governing body of six aquatic disciplines, including swimming, released its 2021 Annual Development Report, a publication that highlights the mission, activities, and outcomes from its development programs.
FINA describes its mission as “To elevate the importance of Aquatics worldwide by providing a framework for increased participation, enhanced promotion, and global competitive success in the sport.”
The 2021 FINA Development programs fall into the categories of athlete support, education programs, and member support programs. FINA committed $6.6 million for distribution among all National Federations and Continental Associations.
The FINA Scholarship Program offers the opportunity to obtain financial and technical assistance for one potential elite athlete selected and proposed by his or her National Federation. In 2021, FINA had 87 athletes in the Scholarship Program, with 75 swimmers and 12 divers. Last year’s program success included 46 scholarship athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics, which is 52 percent of the program. One FINA scholarship athlete competed in an Olympic semi-final. In 2020, FINA had 73 athletes participate in the Scholarship Program, 53 swimmers and 20 divers.
The governing body also offers a coaches certification program, which aims to establish universal and standardized coaches training across countries. In 2021, the program shifted to an entirely digital format that received 350 participants. Previously there was an online and face-to-face component, but the face-to-face session has been replaced. The 2020 program had 462 participants.
Additionally, the education program for officials was shifted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which FINA dedicated $72,000 to. In 2021, 900 people across 35 sessions across the globe participated in an Officials Program, which included the following courses to choose from: Artistic Swimming Development, Diving Development, Diving Certification, Open Water Swimming Development, Open Water Swimming Certification, Swimming, Water Polo Development, Water Polo Certification. 768 candidates started their education as technical official and 132 became certified as FINA officials through the FINA Certification Schools.
FINA also has a Pools for All initiative, which aims to provide a pool for member countries that do not have any swimming facilities. The governing body hopes to engage each country and community with a long-term development plan to develop Aquatics. FINA will allocate $250,000 maximum per project. In 2021, FINA had three pools under development.