Russian sprinter Vlad Morozov, who trains with Trojan Swim Club at USC, will swim at all three stops of the inaugural FINA Champions Series this spring, he announced on Instagram Tuesday.
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Happy to announce that I will be competing in the #fina Champions Swim Series racing the 100m Freestyle. Guangzhou – April 27-28 Budapest – May 11-12 Indianapolis – May 31-June 1 #madwave Спешу сообщить о своем участии в новой Серии Чемпионов от #fina исключительно на дистанции 100м вольным стилем.
The Champions Series is a long course, 3-leg competition with athletes participating on an invite-only basis, and will include a team scoring format. It was announced in December amid FINA’s attempt to block the International Swim League, which has a similar format.
FINA sent invites to 45 male swimmers from 15 different countries, and to 37 female swimmers from 17 different countries, but we don’t know exactly who was invited. The list of invited swimmers includes “Rio 2016 Olympic medallists, Budapest 2017 World Championships’ medallists, World Record holders, and leaders of the 2018 FINA World Swimming Rankings,” FINA says.
As the fastest swimmer of 2018 in the event with his Russian Nationals time of 47.75, Morozov was invited to swim only the 100 free; he was fourth in the world in the 50. The 2012 Olympian took second to Caeleb Dressel in the 100 free at the 2018 FINA Short Course World Championships.
He’ll first race in Guangzhou, China, April 27 to 28, 2019. The second meet is scheduled for two weeks later, May 11-12, in Budapest, Hungary. The third meet will be in the United States, scheduled for May 31-June 1 in Indianapolis at the IUPUI Natatorium.
The competition as a whole will lack distance events, with each meet including timed finals of just 50, 100, and 200m races in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly, as well as a 400 free and a 200 IM. FINA will award nearly $4 million in prize money across the series, making it the richest swimming event in the organization’s history. It will also cover athletes’ travel costs and provide them with appearance money.
Morozov joins Anton Chupkov and Michael Andrew, who is currently suing FINA, on the list of athletes confirmed for all three legs of the series.