With the official announcement on Monday by FINA that the World Aquatics Championships have been pushed into May of 2022, the potential global swimming calendar for that year becomes very crowded – if there is no other movement.
As things sit now, the year would include two World Championship events, the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, the European Aquatics Championships, the Asian Games, and the potential of the incarnation of the 6-month International Swimming League season that the organization had originally planned to begin this fall, but now says they hope to unfurl after the rescheduled Tokyo Games.
While some of these events could be pushed or go by the wayside altogether, for now none have made those announcements. If they all continue on, what is most likely is that we’ll see countries send tier-2 squads to some of these events, much like we already see from some countries with events like the Youth Olympic Games or the Pan American Games.
For a select group of Asian nations, the calendar becomes especially crowded. This makes the Pan Pacific Championships, which is an event that was originally conceived of to give non-European nations an international championship (that they controlled the rights to) in the non-Olympic even years, to disappear. Countries like Singapore, for example, will have the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Pan Pacific Championships, and two World Championship meets all in the same calendar year. Singapore had already pulled out of the Pan Pacific Championships in 2018, after participating in 2014.
The Australians, with a World Championship and Commonwealth Games; plus the Japanese, with an Asian Games and World Championships, would have full-enough schedules already to not really need Pan Pacs either. The Americans are really the only major country in that scenario dependent upon this secondary continental meet (and maybe, for example, Brazil, which doesn’t get great competition at South American Championship meets).
Potential 2022 Swimming Calendar
- FINA Champions Series? – TBD
- International Swimming League? – TBD
- South American Swimming Championships – TBD, historic dates are sporadic
- 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships – Fukuoka, Japan – May 13th-29th
- 2022 Commonwealth Games – Birmingham, England – July 27th-August 7th, 2022
- 2022 LEN European Aquatics Championships – Rome, Italy – August 11th-21st, 2022
- 2022 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships – Canada – Dates TBD, usually August
- 2022 Jr. Pan Pacific Swimming Championships – Location and Dates TBD, usually August
- 2022 Asian Games – Hangzhou, China – September 10th-25th, 2022
- African Swimming Championships – TBD – TBD, usually in September or October (skipped in 2014 because of ebola outbreak).
- 2022 Youth Olympic Games – Dakar, Senegal – October 22nd-November 9th, 2022
- 2022 World Short Course Swimming Championships – Kazan, Russia* – Dates TBD, Usually in December
- There are a few other junior meets that will likely be squeezed in here, like Jr. Pan Pacs and European Junior Championships.
* Pending outcome of Russia’s appeal of IOC sanctions over doping practices, though the head of the Russian federation Vladimir Salnikov says that this would not be impacted.
In addition to all of these international meets, with an early World Championship event, countries will have to get creative with their qualifying. That’s especially true for the United States and Canada: countries that have significant numbers of swimmers participating in the NCAA system that doesn’t wrap until late March.
There has never been a World Championships held in May before. In 2007, the event was held in March, but the fact that it was not a post-Olympic year left more flexibility in qualifying (in the U.S., for example, the team was selected the year before, which is still the tradition in pre-Olympic year World Championships now).