Missouri State’s Kalnins Set for Swimming’s Biggest Events This Summer

SPRINGFIELD – Missouri State senior Uvis Kalnins is set to embark on two of the most prestigious events for competitive swimmers this summer as he prepares for the World University Games and FINA World Championships.


Kalnins begins his foreign journey competing for his home country of Latvia from July 4-11 at the “Universiade,” or World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea. He will also compete at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, which takes place from July 24-Aug. 9.


“I am excited to represent Latvia at the World Championships and Missouri State at the University Games this summer,” Kalnins said. “This will be my third World Championships and I hope that my previous experiences will help me do well. Both meets this summer will give me a good chance to set me up for next season, which will be the Olympic year and also my last season at Missouri State.”


Both swimming events serve as run-ups to the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, from Aug. 5-21. Kalnins previously competed for Latvia at the 2012 Olympics and was the youngest swimmer to place in the top 30 of an event, finishing less than a second off from a top-16 finish in the 100-meter freestyle.


Heading into his senior year of eligibility in his Bears career, Kalnins begins his quest towards his second Olympic appearance this July.


The largest multi-sport event after the Olympics, the World University Games are held every other year on odd-number years and are divided into summer and winter events. Athletes must be enrolled in a recognized degree program as an undergraduate or graduate student in order to compete.


The 28th edition of the World University Games consist of 13 compulsory sports with eight optional sports selected by the host city. An expected 170 countries from around the world will send athletes to participate in the Games.


The 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China, holds the record for the most participating athletes at 10,622.


Swimming competition will take place at the newly-constructed Nambu University International Aquatics Center in Gwangju. The international sporting event is organized by the International University Sports Federation and brings university students from around the world to participate in the event to advance development of education and culture, build friendship through sports and honor sportsmanship.

“The World University Games kind of just came about,” Missouri State head coach Dave Collins said. “That wasn’t really something that was really on our radar, but the opportunity was there and we thought it was a good opportunity for him to go to a really high caliber international competition this summer. With two chances to gain experience internationally as he moves towards qualification for the Rio Olympics, they will be great because he’s got some really high goals for this final year of the Olympic cycle.”


Kalnins will participate in one of swimming’s most notable events before returning to finish his Missouri State career, the FINA World Championships.


The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) is the world governing body for the six aquatic disciplines of swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized diving, open water swimming and high diving. FINA hosts the event – which began in 1973 – that serves as the World Championships for Aquatic sports. The World Championships take place every other year.


“Uvis has done just a great job of taking swimming seriously year round,” Missouri State head coach Dave Collins said. “Not even just year round, but within a four-year cycle. This summer has been something that we have been gearing towards throughout his time here (at Missouri State). He had an idea of coming into the summer with the opportunity to be at the World Championship meets and that was a qualification that we targeted.”


The 2015 FINA World Championships are viewed as one of the most important swimming events globally leading into the Rio Olympics in the summer of 2016.

“I think that the Olympics is every athlete’s dream,” Kalnins said. “I am thankful that the Missouri State coaching staff and the team has pushed me to the point to where going to Rio [in 2016] seems more doable than ever before.”

Swimming news courtesy of Missouri State Swimming.

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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