What is it?
As the name suggests, the FINA Swimming World Championships are a set of championships for swimmers from around the world, and it is organised by FINA, which is the international body responsible for organising international competitions for aquatic sports. The 2017 event is part of the wider World Aquatics Championships and is taking place in Budapest, Hungary. This will be the 17th edition of the event, and is the first time the event has taken place in Hungary.
What is the format this year?
There doesn’t seem to be any major difference between this schedule and recent swimming World Championships. 42 events will be held, of which 20 are for men, 20 are for women and 2 are mixed. Events either have heats, semi-finals and finals, or for longer events and relays, just heats and relays. Qualification from heat to semi to final is purely based on the quickest time, so if you win your heat or semi-final but do a slow time, you may not necessarily qualify for the final. In the event that more than one swimmer ties for the final qualification slot, those affected have to do a swim-off against each other.
Who are the historical powerhouses?
In an ‘all-time’ swimming World Championships medal table, the USA are head-and-shoulders above the rest of the world, having won 550 medals, including 236 gold. Next in the table are China, but with only 288 medals in total, and just 128 gold. Russia are next (combining their total with the USSR), with 271 medals total, but only 106 gold, and the table continues with Australia, East Germany, Germany, Hungary, Italy, France and Great Britain.
Who are the swimmers to watch out for?
- Katinka Hosszú (Hungary) – the self-styled ‘Iron Lady’ is the great home hope for gold medals in the pool. Hosszú is the world record holder in the 100m, 200m and 400m Individual Medley and the 100m and 200m backstroke, and won three gold medals and one silver at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
- Katie Ledecky (USA) – Ledecky, despite being only 20 years old, seems to have been one of the world’s best swimmers for some time, and indeed has won the Swimming World Swimmer of the Year award for the past four years. She broke through at the 2012 Olympic Games in London when she defeated British hope Rebecca Adlington in the 800m Freestyle. Since then she has only got better, winning nine gold medals over the past two World Championships, and then winning four gold medals and a silver in Rio.
- Sarah Sjöström (Sweden) – Sjöström already stamped her mark on the 2017 World Championships, when on day one she smashed the 100m Freestyle world record as part of the first leg of the 4 x 100m Freestyle relay. She is also the current world record holder over 50m and 100m Butterfly and 200m Freestyle (shortcourse). Sjöström won gold in the 100m Butterfly in Rio, as well as two silvers and a bronze.
- Simone Manuel (USA) – Manuel took gold and silver in the 100m and 50m Freestyle at Rio, widely considered to be the blue riband events of the swimming world, and so can claim to be the fastest female swimmer in the world (although Denmark’s Pernille Blume might dispute that, given that she took home gold in the 50m Freestyle).
- Rie Kaneto (Japan) – Kaneto won gold in the 200m Breaststroke event at Rio, and was named Swimming World’s Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year – an award which, in recent years, has been dominated by Australian swimmers.
What is the schedule, and which are the events to look out for?
- Monday 24th July
- 100m Butterfly
- 200m Individual Medley – Katinka Hosszú will hope to win her first gold of the championships
- Tuesday 25th July
- 1500m Freestyle
- 100m Backstroke
- 100m Breaststroke
- Wednesday 26th July
- 200m Freestyle – likely to see a face-off between Katie Ledecky and Sarah Sjöström
- 4 x 100m Medley Relay (Mixed)
- Thursday 27th July
- 50m Backstroke
- 200m Butterfly
- 4 x 200m Medley Relay
- Friday 28th July
- 100m Freestyle – can Sjöström break the world record twice in the same championships? Or will Simone Manuel triumph?
- 200m Breaststroke
- Saturday 29th July
- 800m Freestyle – Ledecky will look to dominate this event once again
- 200m Backstroke
- 50m Butterfly
- 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay (Mixed)
- Sunday 30th July
- 50m Freestyle
- 50m Breaststroke
- 400m Individual Medley – Hungarians everywhere will be hoping for a ‘golden goodbye’ to the 2017 championships, as Hosszú goes once again
- 4 x 100m Medley Relay
Where can I watch it (UK only)?
The BBC are showing highlights every evening, and the rest of the action is on Eurosport.