The Requirements To Host The FINA World Aquatics Championships

After Greensboro withdrew their bid to host either the 2025 or 2027 World Championships, it raised the question: what are the requirements of the host city for such a large-scale event?

Looking at the last six hosts, they have used anywhere between two to five different pools for competition use, between swimming, diving, water polo, and artistic (formerly synchronized) swimming, along with additional outdoor venues for open water swimming and high diving.

The main pool used for the swimming competition has seated anywhere between 12,500 and 18,000 people. Take a look at some of the data below:

Year Host City Number of Pools Used Swimming Pool Swimming Capacity Diving Capacity Water Polo Capacity Artistic Capacity
2017 Budapest 4 Permanent 12,500 12,500* 8,000 6,000
2015 Kazan 5 Temporary 15,000 4,200 3,500 15,000*
2013 Barcelona 4 Temporary 17,960 6,500 3,000 17,960*
2011 Shanghai 2 Temporary 18,000 5,000 18,000* 18,000*
2009 Rome 3 Permanent 12,000 12,000*
2007 Melbourne 3 Temporary 14,820 1,800 3,000 14,820*

It is fairly common for the main pool to be temporary, usually placed in a stadium that’s normally used for other sports. Even in the cases where the pool used for the swimming competition is permanent, temporary locations are usually necessary to fulfil the requirements of all the different sports.

For the upcoming championships in Gwangju this summer, the swimming and diving competitions will take place at the Main Aquatics Centre (built for the 2015 World University Games), and water polo and artistic swimming will have their own temporary outdoor venues nearby.

What would it take for an American city to host the championships? First, they’ll need the main pool to have a seating capacity somewhere in the 12,000 range (at minimum).

Indianapolis, which hosted the 2017 World Junior Championships (Indiana University Natatorium), seats 4,700, which makes it the largest permanent swimming facility in the country but still falls well short of what a Worlds would require. The Greensboro Aquatic Center, for example, only seats 2,500.

The most likely scenario would be a temporary pool in an arena, similar to what they do every four years at the Olympic Trials, but the cost of that becomes a major factor. They would also need at least one, probably two or three, additional venues.

With Greensboro dropping out it will now be at least ten years before the World Championships take place on American soil. After Gwangju this summer they will return to Fukuoka, Japan in 2021 (where they were in 2001), and then move to Doha, Qatar in 2023 (host of the 2014 SC Worlds).

Budapest and Kazan are two of the cities who remain in the running for 2025 or 2027, along with Belgrade, Kiev, and a city to be confirmed in China.

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1 year ago

I find it a little funny that all these other countries have managed to scrape together the funding to host the World Championships, some even more than once, but the US of all places hasn’t even been able to manage it even once.

Aussie crawl
Reply to  Troy
1 year ago

We in The great south Land don’t have Mr Trump.

Reply to  Aussie crawl
1 year ago

And Trump also knows what a dog this is for the economy. He would never support it.

Reply to  Troy
1 year ago

That’s the case with a lot of things in the US

1 year ago

It’s a big world. Why this 2018-2021 Japan/Korea monopoly for 4 of the biggest swimming meets in those 3 years? Not the best planning…

Coach ID
Reply to  200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
1 year ago

But who decides it? A planning committee or a group of delegates?? Or were there no better options??

He Said What?
1 year ago

If I remember correctly, the last time the USA had actually thrown its hat into the ring and WON the rights for the World Championships was for the 1982 edition. And then everything went south, the American host city, Santa Clara, removed itself and FINA had to scramble for a host nation. That nation was Ecuador,….Guayaquil, Ecuador. I had some friends who competed there and was told that the construction wasn’t finished even when the competition began. So how on Earth can Ecuador host the Worlds and the USA can’t or won’t? It makes no sense.

Andrei Vorontsov
Reply to  He Said What?
1 year ago

That was a time of SWIMMING championships, now AQUATIC champs. 5 sports together . A little difference!

Human Ambition
Reply to  Andrei Vorontsov
1 year ago

Good point Andrei. And it was also 1982.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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