Originally published 9.16.21
USA Swimming released its athlete selection procedures for the 2021 FINA Short Course World Championships, taking place December 16-21 in Abu Dhabi.
This year marks the 15th edition of the FINA short course World Swimming Championships. This year, an Aquatics Festival will be held in parallel with the championships, featuring open water swimming, diving, and high diving.
The American team of pool swimmers, limited to 14 men and women each, will be announced on or before October 22.
To join the team, athletes have to be registered members of USA Swimming, a member of the 2021-2022 USA Swimming National Team, and a citizen of the United States. Swimmers have to earn the applicable FINA A (for individual events) and B (applicable for relay-only swimmers) cuts to qualify for selection to the team, which can be found here. The age minimum for competitors at Worlds is 14 years old for women and 15 for men.
Selection to the team in all Olympic events will occur on a prioritized basis, with first priority swimmers consisting of people who have the first- and second-fastest times in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle. Swimmers who have the fastest times in all other events except for the women’s 1500 freestyle and men’s 800 freestyle (which are not being competed in Abu Dhabi) will make up the second priority. Finally, the third priority will consist of swimmers with the second-fastest times in the other events.
For the 50-meter stroke events, the top athletes in the corresponding 100-meter events for each stroke will be offered spots (ie. top 100 breastroker is offered the first spot in the 50 breast). For the 100 IM, athletes must still have a FINA A or B cut in short course meters from a FINA-approved event, and USA Swimming will pick its entrants based on the top times from the pool of athletes already selected to the team in Olympic events.
Anyone selected to the team is eligible to compete on relays; relay participants will be picked at the coaching staff’s discretion at the meet.
The short course championship, which was scheduled to be held in 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19, is the smaller of the two FINA World Championship events.
In 2018, FINA awarded over $2 million in prize money — nearly double its previous short course Worlds payout — after the International Swimming League threatened the winter competition with its proposed Energy for Swim meet.
This year, FINA is upping that to $2.8 million, including a 50% increase in prize money for individuals. The prize money pool will be the largest of any FINA swimming event to date, just ahead of the $2.73 million from the 2019 LCM World Championships, in Gwangju, South Korea.
For comparison: the ISL is offering nearly $7 million during its current third season, the bulk of which will have ended just before Worlds (although the final match takes place in early January 2022). FINA’s own competition circuit, the Champions Series, awarded just shy of $2 million in 2020.
You can read all of the athlete selection requirements here.