Connect with Us:  

Why Have World Champ Cut-Off Times?

Jun 18, 2010  - Carol Zaleski

In a short paper penned for the FINA Aquatics Magazine, Carol Zaleski, Chairman of the FINA Technical Swimming Committee, provides insight into a few of the latest developments planned for the sport. 

With kind permission of Carol Zaleski and the FINA Magazine, here are the topics in focus:

Three topics proposed:

  • entry times for FINA World Championships;
  • 10 lanes for heats/semis & finals;
  • the World Junior Swimming Championships.

As we move forward in swimming, we are always looking at our rules and the conduct of competitions for improvements for our sport. Recent innovations include qualifying times for World Championships, the ability to use 10 lanes for competition where available and the introduction of Junior World Swimming Championships.

We will attempt to answer some of the questions that these changes generate.

Why have entry times for World Championships? Our FINA World Championships have grown into a very large competition both in terms of the number of Federations and the number of competitors. This is a very good thing for FINA and our sport. The large numbers require some management, however, to maintain the time frame for optimum performances by the athletes. Thus the introduction of qualifying times. We can maintain the quality of the competition and still include the “universality athletes” from the Federations that do not have athletes who have achieved the qualifying times. The effort here is to balance the inclusion of as many FINA member federations as possible with quality athlete performance.

The ability to use ten lanes when available is now part of FINA rules. This provides greater flexibility in the conduct of competitions. For each competition a decision will be made to use eight or ten lanes. The factors that will go into making a decision include: the existing pool facility, the size of the competition and the interests of television and sponsors for the promotion of the sport.

FINA introduced World Junior Championships on August 23-27, 2006 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The second competition was conducted July 8-13, 2008 in Monterrey, Mexico. The competition in Mexico included 67 Federations and 588 athletes. The next competition is scheduled for August 16-21, 2011 in Lima, Peru. The purpose of these competitions is to introduce international competition to some younger athletes. Introducing these athletes to FINA international competition is a way to assist their preparation for World Championships and Olympic Games.

We will continue to see new innovations in the sport of Swimming as we continue to grow. With the FINA disciplines combined, our sports have the highest television ratings for the Olympic Games. We need to continue to innovate and improve to live up to the high standards expected of our combined disciplines. 

Similar overview papers from the heads of the technical committees of the other four FINA Olympic sports, diving, water polo, synchronised and open water swimming, can be read in the FINA Aquatics Magazine.