With nine world records and numerous European and national records to boast, the 1997 edition of the FINA Swimming World Cup was a definite success. FINA's renewed involvement in the event promises an even higher profile in the future, as more countries show an interest in organizing a leg.
Organizers met on the last Sunday morning in Paris to review this year's circuit and discuss next year's program.
The most notable change in 1997 was the increased participation in Asia. There was also an important increase in television broadcasting (both live and delayed). More swimmers gave themselves the maximum point advantage by competing in either Hong Kong, Beijing, or both, and if this trend continues it is likely that the prize money will go up in a year or so.
With regard to next year's World Cup, the decision was made to include Australia (Sydney) for a leg, to take place immediately after the World Championships in Perth in January 1998.
Brazil has shown interest in hosting a possible two legs in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but their participation is to be confirmed at the next organizers' meeting, to be scheduled in Gothenburg in April.
Canada is hopeful to be included in December of 1998 for the beginning of the 1999 series.
With more competitions, swimmers will be allowed
to score at five meets instead of the traditional four, but with the same
stipulation of no more than three meets per continental series. Bigger and
better also means more expensive for swimmers and their Federations, but
FINA's goal is to establish the World Cup as a truly global series.
FINA prize money will be available for each category
sprint free, distance free, back, breast, fly and individual medley US $7,500
for first, $3,500 for second and $1,500 for third.
There will be US $2,000 available for each world
record bettered but no bonus for records equalled.
Sydney, AUS - January 22-23 or 24-25
Beijing, CHN - February 25-26
Hong Kong - February 28-March 1
Espoo, FIN - March 7-8
Glasgow, SCO - March 13-14
Malmö, SWE - March 17-18
Gelsenkirchen, GER - March 21-22
Imperia, ITA - March 24-25
Paris, FRA - March 28-29