FINA Should Treat Hosszu As More Than Just Another Swimmer

Courtesy of Barry Revzin, resident SwimSwam stat-fiend.

FINA announced recently that it would cap the number of events each swimmer could enter at a single World Cup stop at four. What kind of impact would this have on the cup? How many swimmers would be hurt by this rule, and by how much? I took a look at the recent World Cups, whose results were posted on to find out.

From 2012 to 2016, there were 40 such World Cup stops, with 2,687 swimmers making a final in 11,818 entries. The distribution of those entries skews strongly towards only making a small number of finals:

From here it might seem that cutting off the distribution at 4 wouldn’t have too big an effect. After all, five swims is already really rare. Six more so. But what I’m more interested in are the swimmers who would be affected by the rule change. How many times has each swimmer competed in more than four finals at a single stop? This is a pretty familiar list overall:

Of course Katinka Hosszu has done this far more than anyone else. The Iron Lady will have broken this rule more than the next three most prolific competitors combined. But even this doesn’t quite do justice to just how many events she has competed in. After all, swimming 5 events at a stop isn’t really equivalent to swimming 10, but here I am comparing them as if they are. The swimmer competing in 5 events only loses one swim, by the swimmer competing in 10 loses six. So let’s get to the real question: how many events over four has each swimmer competed in? How many swims would have been lost due to this rule.

Put it even simpler, Hosszu: 250. Everyone else combined: 269.

It could be that FINA is simply focusing on the aggregate numbers and Hosszu becomes just one swimmer negatively impacted by the rule change. It could be that they simply don’t like Hosszu and the decision was a little targeted. Regardless, FINA appears to be greatly disregarding the value that the Iron Lady’s crazy event schedules have brought to the World Cup series. It’s not just that she’s been the most successful swimmer in the history of the World Cup, she has been, without a doubt, the most interesting swimmer in the World Cup over these last five years that’s being missed.

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Why don’t more Americans do the whole circuit??? Besides doing one or two, or the 18& under World Cup.


Mostly the expenses involved in going over, many top Americans are in college during the cup, and lastly SCM. Would love to see more go tho!

bad or sick

good point. Seeing these charts it is striking how european wc is!

bobo gigi

Who really cares about FINA world cups?


I think USA should go to war with FINA on this matter. Battle for the world circuit we should boycott the world cup 100% and promote the Arena Pro by upping the prize money and secondarily by subsiding travel costs for the top ranked foreign swimmers to attend. Give them free hotel, meals and ground transportation and give them a little VIP treatment and I bet they will like to keep coming back to America for visit. Maybe sponsor a camp before or after the meet and provide the training space so they don’t have to do any logistics etc. Even just lobby some of the foreign NGBs to send a contingent over here on a regular basis.


That’s a brilliant idea! Hosszu’s swimsuit sponsor is Arena, I am sure that they can find some compensation budget to make Hosszu boycott the world cup, too. Then we have Sjostrom, Le Clos and Seebohm to be convinced and FINA has a game over.
BTW Hosszu is looking for new challenges for the next three years. She can get that as well 🙂


The money for the top 6 swimmers are so high at the FINA world cup that I do not think the Arena Pro series could match it.


The money is in winning / placing in the series which is usually 3 stops. The US GPs are too far apart & no one wants to go to camps unless they are in holiday places & who wants to be answerable to some jerk organiser with lots of rules . HELLO MOTHER , HELLO FATHER ….

I notice the Australians are not there this year .Finally they have realised it is a useless trip stuck in tge middle of nowhere .No use in swimming fast in early June – they need July comps .

Daniel Metzger

Smart reply TAA. I agree. Your suggested response would do wonders for superstars like Katinka and grow the sport in one of the most important markets, USA. FINA appears corrupt and to have singled out the most interesting, highest performing swimmer in the world. Let’s take on FINA! Arena Pro can do better for the sport!

willy beeman

She should be treated as two swimmers: Katinka and Katinkb and maybe she can win 1st and 2nd!


The 4xHosszu relay should fare pretty well.

Tea rex

That would be awesome. Even more, can you imagine if the Litherland triplets were the Hosszu triplets??? The rest of swimming might as well give up…

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