World Championships Roundup: Flag-Raising Begins Final Wind-Up to Shanghai 2011

One of the coolest features of this year’s World Championship venue, the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center, is the massive flag construction that exists outside of the aquatics center. Today was the official “raising of the flags” ceremony that began with the raising of the Chinese and FINA flags, followed by those of 200 other FINA member nations and the official World Championship flag. More pictures of the event can be seen here

(Curiously, there are 202 FINA member nations, though only 201 national flags were raised. No word on which flag was omitted).

Flags outside of the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center, with the main aquatics facility in the background


…In other World Championship news, we’ve already heard from a fan with feet on the ground in Shanghai, and the reports have been wholly positive so far. The aquatic center is said to look as impressive in person as it has in many of the pictures that have been floated about. Shanghai has also billed the event up as a huge spectacle, with advertisements and promotions throughout the 23-million strong urban area. Security has also been highly visible in the official hotels that will host the athletes and other meet officials…

…Chinese National Team Coach Yao Zhengjie expects “three or four” golds at the home meet in Shanghai. This is fewer than many early predictors have pegged, with at least two expected from Sun Yang, and Liu Zige acting as the coach’s pick to win gold in the 200 fly (over her teammate Jiao Liuyang, who is right on her heels). Sun Yang told Chinese media that, in a training camp in Australia earlier this year, he’s spent a lot of focus on the “shorter” distances, because he really wants to win the 400 free. This is an interesting strategy, because while it might hurt his chances at breaking Grant Hackett’s World Record in the 1500 free, it increases his chances at sweeping the three races. That’s because he’s expected to get his biggest challenge in the 400 free from the likes of South Korea’s Tae Hwan Park and France’s Yannick Agnel, amongst others…

…The American contingent will leave for their 10-day, pre-Championship training camp tomorrow. The Americans were originally scheduled to travel to Osaka, Japan (where the British team will convene early this week as well), but following the devastating earthquakes, they amended their itineraries to head for the east coast of Australia at Brisbane instead. Many have questioned this move, as this will leave the Americans two-hours ahead of the Shanghai time zone and still an 8 hour plane flight away. Still, USA Swimming had to make quick decisions prior to knowing for sure how extensive the damage in Japan would be and how long it would take to recover…

…The Irish team, featuring budding women’s superstar Grainne Murphy, will also leave tomorrow for their training camp, which will be held in Malaysia…

…Brazil is en route to their training camp in Macau, which is sort of like Hong Kong in its independent operation, except for one small difference: as a former colony of Portugal, Portuguese is one of two official languages, which will help with the acclimation of the swimmers. Cesar Cielo, pending his hearing by the CAS, is accompanying his teammates…

…Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, who is the defending Olympic gold medalist in the 10-meter platform and defending World Championship bronze medalist in the 1-meter, has withdrawn from this year’s World Championships with an abdominal injury. This eliminates the chance of a much-anticipated showdown with defending World Champion Tom Daley, only 17, of the UK…

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9 years ago

Which flag was omitted? Taiwan, anyone?

9 years ago

Yao Zhengjie is being modest and trying to take the pressure off his swimmers.
I can see China wins medals in: men’s 400/800/1,500 free, women’s 200 fly, 50 back, either 200 or 400 IM, and maybe a surprise win in either 800 FR or 400 MR.

Shanghai will be great and amazing and for all the right reasons (Cielo’s notwithstanding), after the circus of Rome.

It will mark the re-entry of China as swimming powerhouse who I think will stay up there permanently.

9 years ago

I agree 99% with Swimfan minus the 800FR, news from the Adlington training cycle is that the 8.16 textile best is in grave danger of going (Meaning so is Lotte Friise’s CR) as is Manaudou’s (Or Pellegrini’s) 400FR textile best! i hear 4.01.5 & 8.16 sharp is the expectation of Bill Furniss as this year her focus has gone back towards endurance which she dropped off of in 2009 & 2010. (Still always worried by Chinese media reports though, seem to always come true)!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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