It’s only 2013, and there are still three long course World Championship meets to be held between now and then, but the cycle has already begun to name the hosts of the 2019 and 2012 World Championships, as representatives from four cities met in Lausanne, Switzerland on Wednesday.
Representatives from China (no city yet), Hungary (Budapest), Japan (Tokyo), and Korea (Gwangju) met for an “informative meeting” on the bidding process for the 2019, and possibly 2021, World Championships.
Formal bids will be due by April 4th, 2013 for the meet, with the host for 2019 to be announced prior to the start of this summer’s World Championships in Barcelona. FINA is committed to choosing a 2019 host by then, and could possibly select for 2021 as well.
Hungary has become a familiar host of European swimming, having successfully hosted or co-hosted three of the last 5 European Aquatics Championships. That included stepping up in 2012 after Belgium’s hosting bid ran into financial troubles and taking over last-minute hosting duties and scoring huge political points within European Swimming.
Tokyo’s bid is very interesting, as they are among three finalists for the 2020 Summer Olympics: an announcement of that winner won’t take place until after FINA declares the victors of this bid for 2019. I see a distinctly-plausible scenario where FINA awards 2019 to another of the host cities, and then waits to see what happens with the Olympic announcement before deciding on the worthiness of Tokyo for 2021. If Tokyo wins the Olympic bid, they’ll have a brilliant new permanent aquatics venue; though the drawback would be that it would have the major global swimming competition in the same city in two consecutive years.
South Korea has been stricken with swimming fever thanks to the success of their young star Park Tae-Hwan, who fills marquees in his home country easily to the level that Michael Phelps does here in the states. He may be retired by 2019 (though, he would perhaps hang around for a 5th Olympics in 2020), so the next generation of Korean athletes will have to feed off of his legacy.
China bids for just about everything these days, and most recently hosted the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai.
The next three hosts:
2013: Barcelona, Spain
2015: Kazaan, Russia
2017: Guadalajara, Mexico