At their annual meeting the organizers of the World Cup circuit decided to increase the next series from nine to twelve meets, thereby stretching the period over which the events will be held even further.
The 1998-99 circuit will kick off in Rio de Janeiro (Nov. 21-22); Canada and the USA return after an absence of nearly a decade with events in Edmonton and College Station, Texas.
After a month break the circuit returns to Beijing (Jan. 5-6), followed by Hong Kong and Sydney, and the new addition of Hobart (Tasmania).
A break of nearly another month precedes the European section starting in Glasgow, followed by Malmo, Paris, Gelsenkirchen, and finishing up in Imperia (March 3-4). Only Malmo will be held mid-week, with the other European meets falling on weekends.
Swimmers will be able to count six of the twelve meets towards a category title, but must have at least one meet from each of the zones.Prize money is to be increased to a total of $230,000 with $10,000 for first, $5,000 for second, and $2,500 for third in each category. The bonus for a world record remains at $2,000.
In the past no penalties have been imposed on host federations who have not fulfilled their commitment to enter at least four swimmers in each of the meets on the circuit. China was the culprit this year, sending no competitors to Sydney, Malmo, and Sheffield. FINA will now fine any of the eleven hosts who fail to honour their contract up to $15,000.