International Championships (9)
- 2015 South East Asian Swimming Championships (SEA) – Singapore – June 17th-22nd – Singapore has a new head coach (Sergio Lopez), a new global star (Joseph Schooling), and is hosting this meet and Junior Worlds. Singapore Swimming has a whole lot of momentum. This is the biggest meet of the year for most of Southeast Asia.
- 2015 European Games – Baku, Azerbaijan – Swimming June 23rd-27th – This event is the beginning of an era, as it’s the first edition of a new multi-sport event being billed as “the European Olympics.” In 2015, LEN has agreed to use this meet to replace the European Junior Championships, so this is a juniors-only swim meet. Baku is bidding for more-and-more international events, and with success hosting here, we could see the city stamped on an Olympics down the road.
- 2015 World University Games – Gwangju, South Korea – July 3rd-14th – A bi-annual competition between the fastest students in the world, this meet is an important stepping stone for many Americans looking to go between great college swimmer and great international swimmer, as many of the world’s top swimming nations send more elite teams.
- 2015 IPC World Swimming Championships – Glasgow, Scotland – July 13th-19th – This meet was originally to be a European Championship, but there’s a lot of momentum in the para-swimming community, enough to prompt a re-brand into a World Championship meet.
- 2015 Pan American Games – Toronto, Canada – Swimming July 14th-18th – How important are Pan Ams? Important enough that FINA moved the dates of the World Championships to accommodate them. There’s now a two-week window between the two meets, and while most of the American stars will be absent, this should result in bigger participation from countries like Brazil and Canada.
- 2015 FINA World Aquatics Championships – Kazan, Russia – August 2nd-9th – The one that counts, the undisputed biggest meet in the world in 2015. The whole 6-discipline meet begins with the opening ceremony on July 24th; the first open water races begin on July 24th and run up until August 1st.
- FINA World Masters Championships – Kazan, Russia – August 5th-16th – The 2015 FINA World Masters’ Championships will go back-to-back with the World Championships in Kazan and use many of the same facilities.
- 5th Junior World Swimming Championships – Singapore – September 1st-6th – With Junior World Records now on the line, the first-ever Junior World Championships to be held in Asia might garner a little more interest. It’s also a month after Worlds, and long after most national championships are done, so expect most countries to send something resembling their top junior squad (girls born 1998-2001; boys born 1997-2000).
- 2015 European Short Course Swimming Championships – Herzliya, Israel – December 2nd-6th – The European Short Course Championships were originally set to be held in January, but were rescheduled to December (and changed cities as well).
On American Soil (5)
- 2015 NCSA Junior National Championships – Orlando, Florida – March 17th-21st – Though it doesn’t get much participation from the hotbed state of California, the NCSA Junior Nationals are often the fastest yards-course Junior National Championship in the country.
- 2015 Women’s NCAA Championships – Greensboro, North Carolina – March 19th-21st – Along with men’s NCAA’s, one of the most intense meets on the planet. With a growing international crowd in the NCAA, this meet is as rich with names as some of the big continental championships. It will also be Missy Franklin’s last NCAA Championships meet.
- 2015 Men’s NCAA Championships – Iowa City, Iowa – March 26th-28th – Last year’s men’s meet was one of the most exciting on a team scale in recent memory. This year should be just as good, with Cal and Texas again the favorites to take the top two spots.
- 2015 Summer U.S. Junior National Championships – San Antonio, Texas – July 30th-August 3rd – Pay special attention to U.S. Junior Nationals in the pre-Olympic year, as there’s someone who there will begin the long climb to a breakout Olympic year. Becca Mann and Katie Ledecky both swam at Stanford in 2011.
- 2015 Summer U.S. National Championship – San Antonio, Texas – August 6th-10th – Though most of the big American stars will be absent for World Championships duty, everyone else is expected at Summer Nationals. There’s been lots of guesses about when Michael Phelps’ first meet back from suspension will be, and though his camp isn’t confirming anything yet, he would be eligible to swim at U.S. Nationals.
2015 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series (6)
- Minnesota Grand Prix (SCY): November 20th-22nd
- Austin Grand Prix: January 15th-17th
- Orlando Grand Prix: February 12th-14th
- Mesa Grand Prix: April 15th-18th
- Charlotte Grand Prix: May 14th-17th
- Santa Clara Grand Prix: June 18th-21st
The Americas – Domestic (4)
- Canadian East/West Championships – Edmonton/Quebec City – February 19th-22nd – Canada’s regional championships, without any of its NCAA swimmers, will be a good forebear for Trials 6 weeks later.
- Canadian Swimming Championships – Toronto – April 1st-5th – The first major meet that will be swum at the new Pan Ams pool in Toronto that will quickly be established as one of the best in the world.
- Mexican World Championship Trials – Merida – April 10th-13th – Mexico’s national program is getting deeper-and-deeper, thanks in large part to the influence of the NCAA across-the-border.
- Maria Lenk Trophy & Brazilian World Championship Trials – Rio de Janeiro – April 6th-11th – The final stop of the three-pronged Brazilian qualifying for the 2015 World Championships, the Brazilians will look to ride the momentum built at the 2014 World Short Course Championships.
Europe – Domestic (13)
- Danish Open – Copenhagen – March 28th-31st – The always-potent Danish women’s team are entering what could be a very short window, with Jeanette Ottesen already 27, of having a super-star women’s medley relay that could dominate the world, especially with the Americans looking not quite as strong as they did in 2012 (yet).
- Spanish Open National Championships – Malaga – March 28th-31st – Mireia Belmonte has 7 World Championships in short course meters now, but still none in long course. She was a bridesmaid twice in 2013 (200 fly, 400 IM) and at Short Course Worlds swam times that can’t be ignored even by the ‘short course doesn’t matter’ crowd. Expect close to best times at Nationals.
- French Elite Long Course National Championships – Limoges, Haute-Vienne – March 31st-April 5th – The French have momentum after a big Short Course World Championships. The country doesn’t have the freestyle depth it once did, but with Florent Manaudou, and Jeremy Stravius leading the way, the French men actually have a shot at winning their side of the medals table in Kazan.
- Eindhoven Swim Cup/Dutch Nationals – Eindhoven – April 2nd-5th – Dutch Nationals have been hit-or-miss on participation lately, with a lot of the country’s very good swimmers training outside of the country. Expect, though, everyone to reconvene to return the Eindhoven Swim Cup to its glory-status. This meet should feature the best domestic women’s sprint freestyle competition in the world in 2015.
- German National Championships – Berlin – April 9th-12th – Germany has all of the talent in the world, but has just-missed putting things together at big meets over the last few years. More relaxed qualifying standards in 2015 should help the country’s top swimmers put most of their focus on Kazan.
- British Championships & World Championship Trials – London – April 14th-18th – The rebirth of the 2012 London Olympic pool, this will be the venue’s first time hosting a British Championships. Not to be confused with British Summer Nationals, which is not a selection meet for Worlds.
- Italian Championships – Riccione – April 14th-18th – While Sun Yang is benched, Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri is the best distance swimmer in the world. They also have a breakout sprinter Marco Orsi, who was fantastic in December in long course and short course. There’s something for everyone in Riccione.
- Polish Championships – Szczecin – May 28th-31st – Poland just keeps churning out male butterfliers.
- 2015 Mare Nostrum Series – Barcelona/Canet/Monaco – June 6th-14th – The three-meet mega series is back, with Barcelona (June 6th-7th), Canet (June 10th-11th), and Monaco (June 12th-14th) again playing host to Europe’s best non-National Championship series. In 2013, many big name swimmers came to Europe for this series and to take in the European summer (especially those from the Southern Hemisphere) and stayed through to Worlds.
- Lithuanian Open National Championships – June 26th-28th – Ruta Meilutyte is still the biggest game in town in Lithuania, but every year at their National Championships, it’s easy to see where the country is leveraging her success into a better and deeper overall program, despite her training mostly in the UK.
- Hungarian National Championships – Gyor – July 1st-5th – Katinka Hosszu sits atop the pile, but swimming in Hungary is getting deeper and deeper. Don’t miss out on a chance to catch Liliana Szilagyi swim the 200 fly – she might be a future Olympic Champion.
- Swedish Championships – Sundsvall – July 1st-5th – In 2013, Sarah Sjostrom overcame the ‘suit’ label by winning a World Championship in the 100 fly. In 2014, she swam one of the greatest 50-meter stroke races in history when she crushed the 50 fly World Record. In 2015, she’ll be ready for an encore – and she has a knack for swimming incredible times outside of big championships, so don’t miss Swedish Nationals.
- British Summer Nationals 2015 – Ponds Forge/Sheffield – July 28th-August 2nd – An invite-only age group event that Great Britain has developed for 2015 that they hope will have the feel of a more feature-level Age Group Championship meet.
Australia/Oceania – Domestic (4)
- BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series – Perth, Australia – January 31st-February 2nd – This meet has been a show-stopper from day 1, but it takes on a whole new significance in 2015 with the Americans participating.
- Australian Swimming Championships & World Championship Trials – Sydney – April 3rd-10th – 2015 is the year where young Australian talent needs to step up, especially on the men’s side. 2014 was a good stepping-stone, and 2015 is time to perform on both the men’s and women’s sides internationally. It all starts at Nationals – where James Magnussen will give his first big test of training with his new coach.
- 2015 New Zealand Open Championships – Auckland – April 14th-17th – Hopefully, New Zealand’s best swimmer Lauren Boyle has found a full-time coach by this meet. If she does, she’s one of the few swimmers in the world with times that give her a puncher’s chance at Katie Ledecky in the distance frees at Worlds.
- Australian Age Championships – Sydney – April 13th-20th – Australia takes their National Age Championships as seriously as any country in the world takes any domestic Junior National Championships.
Asia – Domestic (3)
- Chinese Spring Nationals – Zhengzhou, Henan Province – January 25th-29th – The Chinese, every year, have some young new superstar emerge that swims freakishly fast times at a very young age at this meet. That, combined with the stars like Sun Yang and Shiwen Ye beginning their climb for Rio.
- Japanese Nationals & World Championship Trials – Tokyo – April 7th-12th – While still one of the nation’s swimming powerhouses, Japanese swimming is at a bit of a pivotal point. They’re strong in events where historically Japan hasn’t been great, like the IM’s, but they need to find more relay pieces to go with Kosuke Hagino if they want to have a big Olympics in 2016. Nationals in 2015 is where that needs to begin.
- Japan Open – Tokyo – May 22nd-24th – Japan has a funny habit of always turning out a new star or two at the Japan Open, despite it not being used as a primary selection meet for the World Championships.
FINA World Cup Series (8)
Participation was big in the 2013 FINA World Cup series, when it was tacked on to the end of the World Championships, but that enthusiasm lagged in 2014. With a return to Europe and France, and rumors of a Michael Phelps appearance, things could liven up again in 2015.
No schedule has been released yet, but FINA has named its 8 host cities:
Moscow (RUS), Singapore (SIN), Beijing (CHN), Tokyo (JPN), Hong Kong (HKG), Doha (QAT) and Dubai (UAE).