Loretta Race contributed to this report.
Reports indicate that COVID-19 has once again drastically altered the global swimming calendar.
According to Swim Channel‘s Alex Pussieldi, FINA has postponed the 2022 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan to July 2023, meaning there will be no Long Course World Championship meet in 2022.
Multiple national federation sources have confirmed the postponement to SwimSwam, though FINA said there is “currently no change of event to confirm.” The idea was proposed last week, and federations were informed of the decision on Friday.
Swimming Canada issued a statement on Friday confirming it had been informed an announcement moving the World Championships was imminent, and that they would adapt as more information comes to light.
As a result of the postponement, per Pussieldi, the 2023 FINA World Championships, originally slated for November 2023 in Doha, will now move to January 2024. This marks the first time there’s ever been a LC World Championship meet held during an Olympic year.
Pussieldi says the reason for the postponement of the World Championships in Fukuoka is due to the current wave of COVID-19 in the country, sparked by the Omicron variant.
Japan has reached all-time highs in daily case numbers over the last few weeks, with a record 45,997 cases reported on Thursday, according to the New York Times. As of January 20, the country’s daily average was up over 30,000 daily cases, while its previous spike peaked at just over 23,000 in August 2021.
While data suggests Japan’s Omicron wave may peak well before the timeframe of the previously-scheduled World Championships, which were slated to run from May 13-29, the country may also have a sense of COVID/sports fatigue following last summer’s Olympic Games.
To illustrate how relatively careful Japan is being in postponing the event, Ireland, which is set to lift most of its COVID restrictions next week, has reported a seven-day rolling average of just over 194 daily cases per 100,000 people as of January 20, while Japan has reported 24.
FINA still plans to run two major competitions in 2022, both in Kazan, according to Pussieldi.
The 2022 World Junior Championships are scheduled for August 23-28 in Kazan, and the Short Course World Championships are still on tap for December 17-22.
2022 remains a relatively busy year in the pool with the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and European Championships still on the docket. But after the 2022 Pan Pacific Championships were deferred until 2026, the postponement of Worlds would leave certain countries, most notably the United States, without a major international long course meet for the year.
SPECULATIVE GLOBAL SWIMMING CALENDAR, 2022-2024
- June 26 – July 7, 2022 – 2021 Summer World University Games
- July 28 – August 8, 2022 – 2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham, England
- August 11-21, 2022 – 2022 European Aquatics Championships (50m), Rome, Italy
- August 23-28, 2022 – 2022 FINA World Junior Championships, Kazan, Russia
- September 10-25, 2022 – 2022 Asian Games, Hangzhou, China
- December 17-22, 2022 – 2022 FINA Short Course World Championships (25m), Kazan, Russia
- July 2023 – 2023 FINA World Aquatics Championships (50m), Fukuoka, Japan
- January 2024 – 2024 FINA World Aquatics Championhips (50m), Doha, Qatar
- July 26 – August 11, 2024 – 2024 Olympic Games, Paris, France