SwimSwam Pulse: Direct Finals Access Most Unpopular World Cup Changes

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers


Question: Which parts of the new FINA World Cup rules do you dislike? (Vote for all that apply)

  • Direct finals access for select swimmers – 47.6%
  • 4-event-per-swimmer cap – 33.6%
  • Different event lineups at each meet – 16.3%
  • I like all of the format changes – 2.4%

SwimSwam voters overwhelmingly pointed to direct finals access for major medalists as the most disliked World Cup format change, with almost half of votes going for that rules update.

This week’s poll allowed users to vote for more than one option, and there’s a lot of crossover between those who didn’t like any of the three major changes. Interestingly, about a third of votes went to the 4-event cap for each swimmer at each meet. That’s a rule that’s been in place in roughly similar form for years in the American Pro Swim Series (a cap of 7 events in 3 days on the PSS compared to 4 events over 2 days on the World Cup) and has drawn very little criticism.

47.6% of votes targeted direct finals access as the most disliked change. The new World Cup format allows World Champs and Olympic medalists free access to event finals, without even requiring a prelims swim.

About 16% disliked the shifting event lineups that feature each event in two of the three meets in each cluster.

Swim fans continue to have an overwhelmingly negative reaction to the changes, with only 2.4% of votes supporting all of the changes.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters which of the two remaining major international meets of the season they are most excited for:

Which end-of-summer meet are you more excited for?

View Results

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Founded in 2004, A3 Performance has a history of developing quality, innovative products at a great price. A3 Performance is the fastest growing brand of competitive swimwear in the United States, driven to innovate the sport of swimming and motivated to help swimmers reach their goals. We are The Performance Swimwear Company.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner

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Steve Nolan

This week’s poll allowed users to vote for more than one option, and there’s a lot of crossover between those who didn’t like any of the three major changes”

Did anybody do that? The totals add up to 99.9%.


I thought I would be the first persnickety one to see that, but you beat me to it.


Why should Sarah do heats of the 50-100 fly & free. Is some local going to beat her?


While she may not have to put in much effort to make finals she should have to go through the same procedure as everyone else.


All of them.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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