World Aquatics Drops 25KM Open Water Race from World Championships Program Going Forward

Reporting from Ben Dornan contributed to this report.

As part of its comprehensive review and update of global rules in aquatic sports, World Aquatics (formerly FINA) has dropped the 25km race from the World Championships program going forward.

World Aquatics previously had announced that the event would not be part of the program at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships, though at the time the statement was specific to the 2023 event.

Low entry numbers and high operating costs were cited at the time as reasons for dropping the event from the 2023 championships.

This leaves 5 open water events on the World Championships going forward: men’s and women’s 5km races, men’s and women’s 10km races, and a mixed 4×1500 relay team event. There were previously 7 events.

The Olympic open water events, known as ‘marathon swimming,’ will remain the 10km races.

# of Entrants in Open Water Events at World Championships (2005 – 2022)

2005 19 23 27 30 31 32
2007 13 42 28 20 53 39
2009 17 45 42 21 48 41
2011 21 56 42 29 67 53
2013 22 51 45 35 65 54
2015 21 55 38 32 70 49
2017 21 62 58 28 65 62
2019 20 64 54 24 74 61
2022 15 61 55 25 62 61

This decision will bring an end to Ana Marcela Cunha‘s reign as the 25k champion, which has lasted for 4 straight championships. She won gold in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2022, and also won in 2011, making her a 5-time winner in this event. Cunha placed 5th in this event in 2013, the same year that she won 10k silver and 5k bronze.

All-time World Championships Medalist – Men’s 25k 

1991 Perth Chad Hundeby – United States Sergio Chariandini – Italy David O’Brien – Australia
1994 Rome Greg Streppel – Canada David Bates – Australia Aleksey Akatyev – Russia
1998 Perth Aleksey Akatyev – Russia David Meca – Spain Gabriel Chaillou – Argentina
2001 Fukuoka Yuri Kudinov – Russia Stéphane Gomez – France Stéphane Lecat – France
2003 Barcelona Yuri Kudinov – Russia David Meca – Spain Petar Stoychev – Bulgaria
2005 Montreal David Meca – Spain Brendan Capell – Australia Petar Stoychev – Bulgaria
2007 Melbourne Yuri Kudinov – Russia Marco Formentini – Italy Mohamed Zanaty – Egypt
2009 Rome Valerio Cleri – Italy Trent Grimsey – Australia Vladimir Dyatchin – Russia
2011 Shanghai Petar Stoychev – Bulgaria Vladimir Dyatchin – Russia Csaba Gercsák – Hungary
2013 Barcelona Thomas Lurz – Germany Brian Ryckeman – Belgium Evgeny Drattsev – Russia
2015 Kazan Simone Ruffini – Italy Alex Meyer – United States Matteo Furlan – Italy
2017 Budapest Axel Reymond – France Matteo Furlan – Italy Evgeny Drattsev – Russia
2019 Gwangju Axel Reymond – France Kirill Belyaev – Russia Alessio Occhipinti – Italy
2022 Budapest Dario Verani – Italy Axel Reymond – France Péter Gálicz – Hungary

All-time World Championships Medalist – Women’s 25k 

1991 Perth Shelley Taylor-Smith – Australia Martha Jahn – United States Karen Burton – United States
1994 Rome Melissa Cunningham – Australia Rita Kovács – Hungary Shelley Taylor-Smith – Australia
1998 Perth Tobie Smith – United States Peggy Büchse – Germany Edith van Dijk – Netherlands
2001 Fukuoka Viola Valli – Italy Edith van Dijk – Netherlands Angela Maurer – Germany
2003 Barcelona Edith van Dijk – Netherlands Britta Kamrau – Germany Angela Maurer – Germany
2005 Montreal Edith van Dijk – Netherlands Britta Kamrau – Germany Laura la Piana – Italy
2007 Melbourne Britta Kamrau – Germany Kalyn Keller – United States Ksenia Popova – Russia
2009 Rome Angela Maurer – Germany Anna Uvarova – Russia Federica Vitale – Italy
2011 Shanghai Ana Marcela Cunha – Brazil Angela Maurer
 – Germany
Alice Franco – Italy
2013 Barcelona Martina Grimaldi – Italy Angela Maurer – Germany Eva Fabian – United States
2015 Kazan Ana Marcela Cunha – Brazil Anna Olasz – Hungary Angela Maurer – Germany
2017 Budapest Ana Marcela Cunha – Brazil Sharon van Rouwendaal – Netherlands Arianna Bridi – Italy
2019 Gwangju Ana Marcela Cunha – Brazil Finnia Wunram – Germany Lara Grangeon – France
2022 Budapest Ana Marcela Cunha – Brazil Lea Boy – Germany Sharon van Rouwendaal – Netherlands

All-time World Championships Medal Table – 25k

Italy 5 3 6
Brazil 5 1
Russia 4 3 5
Germany 3 7 3
USA 2 3 2
Australia 2 3 1
Netherlands 2 2 2
France 2 2 2
Spain 1 2
Bulgaria 1 2
Canada 1
Belgium 1
Argentina 1
Egypt 1
Hungary 2 2

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Angello J Malefakis
10 months ago

Can you please tell me what are the Operating costs? The fat cats at World Aquatics spend more money on themselves with outrageous premium hotel 🛏️🛏️🛏️🛏️ stays when you compare it to the entrants? This is one corrupt sports organization! The purse and prize money is a joke 😂 😂😂. This organization is run by a whole bunch of idiots who serve themselves versus they promoting the sport of swimming! They live in the old days of the idiot in all in amateur athletics in Avery Brundage! The biggest idiot of them all who reigned over the Olympic movement as it was his very own fiefdom!

The unoriginal Tim
10 months ago

25km is mickey mouse anyway. Its a slogfest with no finesse.

10 months ago

That being said, wish more events (7.5k or even 15k) could be added so that OW swimmers have more opportunities…

10 months ago

As someone who raced this and the training for it totally ruined the remainder of my career due to OTS and injury, pleased to see that others can be spared a similar fate 😌😌

Gummy Shark
10 months ago

After 4K or 5K, does it really make a difference? Might as well add a 100K. Glad this event got cut.

Reply to  Gummy Shark
10 months ago

There is a huge difference. Think Chloe McCardel versus Sharon van Rouwendaal. Totally different strengths.

Harry Styles
10 months ago

Who won the bronze for Brazil?

Sherry Smit
10 months ago

They should really add other distances than just the 5 and 10K. There should be like a 2.5K, a 4K, and 7.5K. Believe it or not, there is such thing as an sprinter in open water.

Reply to  Sherry Smit
10 months ago

it is unfortunate for 25k cruisers (1.05lcm pacers) getting cut.
2.5, 7.5 are solid steppingstones for the 10k groove, but not for the fina/olympics scene.
large number of the swimmers swimming in a group, making a turn and even worse u-turn.
it might be entertaining. it would be a huge risk of the massive pile up, and the potential black eyes and other injuries.
current mixed relays are alright…perhaps 8 member relay (like team trial in cycling?!)

10 months ago

And yet we still have the 800 in pool swimming- thought when they added the 1500 for women that the 800 was going to be dropped; but instead, they keep the 800 for women and add it for men.

Eric Angle
Reply to  OldNotDead
10 months ago

Why do you think they should drop the 800?

Reply to  Eric Angle
10 months ago

I thought I saw that switching the 800 for the 1500 for women would make men and women have the same program – I thought I read it on this site that adding the 1500 for women would include dropping the 800. It was a few years ago, but I’m curious if that was the plan.

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