The International University Sports Federation (FISU) has released the official schedule for the 2021 World University Games which will be held in Chengdu, China in the summer of 2022. According to the schedule which can be read below, the Games will run from June 25, 2022, until July 7, 2022, and will feature 18 different sports.
Of the 18 sports that will be contested in Chengdu, 3 are aquatic sports including swimming, diving, and water polo. Those 3 sports will run according to the following schedules:
- Swimming: June 27 – July 3, 2022
- Diving: June 27 – July 4, 2022
- Water Polo: June 25 – July 7, 2022
The Chengdu World University Games were scheduled to be held in 2021 but were postponed by a year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a similar way that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics retained 2020 in their title despite them being held in 2021, the Chengdu Games will still be called the 2021 World University Games despite their new 2022 dates.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the schedule of major international swimming competitions which rarely coincide. There are generally only 1 or 2 major international meets within the span of a year but 2021-2022 will feature 4.
- 2021 World Short Course Swimming Championships (December 16 – December 21, 2021)
- 2022 World Swimming Championships (May 13 – May 29, 2022)
- 2022 Commonwealth Games (July 28 – August 8, 2022)
- 2021 World University Games (June 25 – July 7, 2022)
Notably, the short course and long course World Swimming Championships will occur within months of each other, in December 2021 in Abu Dhabi, and May 2022, respectively. Then in the summer of 2022, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, and the World University Games in Chengdu will be held less than a month apart. In addition to those senior international meets, the summer of 2022 will feature the 2021 World Junior Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia.
The World University Games, which is a competition reserved for current university athletes, is generally not seen as high priority as the World Championships for most nations but still attracts a number of international swimming stars at each edition. In 2017 for example, the likes of Gregorio Paltrinieri, Ilya Shymanovich, Danas Rapsys, Kosuke Hagino, Daiya Seto, Siobhan Haughey, Sarah Kohler, Ella Eastin, Yui Ohashi, and many other notable swimmers took part in the event. 2 years later in 2019, the most recent edition of the Games, Zach Apple, Kirill Prigoda, Brendon Smith, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Chelsea Hodges, and Paige Madden were among those competing.
The United States has topped the medal table in swimming at nearly every edition of the World University Games including the 3 most recent Games in 2015, 2017, and 2019. The only times that the USA has not won the swimming portion of the meet since its 1959 inception were in 1959, 1961, 1963, 1983, 2003, and 2013. At those Games, Italy, Japan, Hungary, the Soviet Union, Ukraine, and Russia finished first, respectively.