2019 FINA World Championships: Everything you need to know

A complete guide to the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea with swimming, diving, high diving, artistic swimming, open water swimming, and water polo.

By Ken Browne

The 18th FINA World Championships will take place in Gwangju, South Korea, from 12-28 July.

A whopping 2537 athletes from 194 countries will be in the 'City of Peace' to compete in 6 aquatic sports for 76 world champion titles.

Global superstars of swimming, diving, artistic swimming, open water swimming and water polo will give us a good idea of who is going to make waves at Tokyo 2020.

High diving is the only non-Olympic aquatic discipline at the 2019 Aquatics World Championships.

Does it get any bigger than Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel,\\ [Sun Yang](https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/athletes/detail/yang-sun/),[,%5B)Chad le Clos](https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/athletes/detail/chad-le-clos/)), [Shi Tingmao](https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/athletes/detail/tingmao-shi/)), [Adam Peaty](https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/athletes/detail/adam-peaty/)), [Tom Daley](https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/athletes/detail/thomas-daley/)), [Sarah Sjostrom](https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/original-series/detail/before-they-were-superstars/episodes/sarah-sjostrom-at-age-18/)), [Penny Oleksiak](https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/video/detail/oleksiak-and-manuel-share-gold-in-women-s-100m-freestyle/),\\ Federica Pellegrini,Simone Manuel, Jack Laugher and Chris Mears?


When it comes to diving, China are dominant.

The Asian powerhouse swept up 7 from 8 gold medals at Rio 2016, before claiming 8 of the 13 titles on offer at the 2017 FINA World Championships.

Olympic champions Shi Tingmao, Ren Qian, Cao Yuan, and Chen Aisen head up China's star-studded team at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, and it is difficult to see them failing to add to their gold medal haul.

Tom Daley is one man who has managed to better his Chinese competition this season, and with several others coming close, there will be no easy victories.

Tom Daley

Venue: Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center

Swimming pool: 50mx25mx2m

Diving pool: 34mx25mx5m

Capacity 11,000 seats

No. of gold medals: 13

Individual: Springboard diving (1m, 3m), platform diving (10m), synchronised platform (10m)

Team: 3m springboard, 10m platform combined

Artistic swimming

From 12th to 20th July, the Yeomju Gymnasium in Gwangju will host the artistic swimming events at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships.

There are no fewer than 10 gold medals at stake in Korea compared to two at the Olympic Games.

The duet and the team categories will be contested at Tokyo 2020 with the top two in the team event, excluding those who have already qualified, booking their place in Japan next year.

There is one country to beat when it comes to artistic swimming - Russia.

Coached by Tatiana Danchenko, the squad has aims of improving on their seven out of nine golds at the last Worlds in Budapest two years ago.

Olympic qualification is not a concern as the team secured a spot for them, and a duet, by winning May's European Champions Cup in St Petersburg.

The USA team will be showcasing a new routine inspired by the body-popping street dance 'The Robot'.

Coach Andrea Fuentes is hoping to qualify her team for Tokyo 2020 but knows it's going to be difficult.

The group have only recently been assembled and USA haven't qualified a team since Beijing 2008.

“We are doing in five months what others took years to achieve,” said Fuentes.

Competition venue: Yeomju Gymnasium Artistic Swimming

Swimming pool: 30mx25mx3m (Temporary pool) Capacity 5,000 seats

Artistic swimming

Number of gold medals: 10

Competitions: Technical routines, free routines

Category: Solo, duet, team, mixed duet


The swimming events are scheduled for the second week, from Sunday 21st to Sunday 28th July.

The event will mark one year to go until Tokyo 2020 and, with Olympic qualification berths up for grabs, expect fast times at the state-of-the-art Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center.

Can anyone catch freestyle favourite Katie Ledecky?

Katie Ledecky

All eyes will be on the five-time Olympic champion as she bids to win four individual gold medals in Gwangju, eclipsing her treble at the bi-annual event in 2017.

In the men's events, there will be high expectations for Caeleb Dressel, Sun Yang and Chad le Clos, as Adam Peaty targets new records.

Find our essential guide to everything you need to know about the swimming event, with the 2019 FINA World Championships schedule here.

Water polo

The water polo competition will start on 12 July with the group stage, where teams are divided in four groups of four.

Olympic champions Serbia and reigning world champions Croatia are the favourites in the men's tournament, while United States, Spain, Hungary and the Netherlands will probably fight for gold on the women's side.

The finals will take place on 26 and 27 July.

Open water swimming

Competitions will be held from 13 to 19 July.

In the men's events, all eyes will be on 10km Olympic and world champion Ferry Weertman from the Netherlands.

Budapest 2017 gold medallist Ana Marcela Cunha from Brazil will be likely the woman to beat in the 25km race.

The Men's 10KM Open Water Swimming event at the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Competition venue: Yeosu EXPO Ocean Park

Capacity 2,000 seats

Open water swimming

Gold medals: 7

5km, 10km, 25km,

Team relay 5km

High Diving

Competitions for the only non-Olympic discipline in Gwangju will be held between 22 and 24 July.

Three-time World Cup winner Gary Hunt of Great Britain and defending world champion Rhiannan Iffland from Australia are leading the standings in the Cliff Diving World Series and will be among the ones to watch in the men's and women's event.

2015 World champion Gary Hunt in action at the FINA High Diving World Cup in Zhaoqing, China.

Competition venue: Chosun University

High diving towers (Men 27m, Women 20m)

Capacity 3,000 seats

High diving

Gold medals: 2

20m (Women) or 27m (men) platforms

Tokyo 2020 qualification

The FINA World Championships will count as a Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying event for individual athletes that meet the required times for their event.

The Games in Japan will see a maximum of 16 teams qualify per relay event, with a one-team maximum allocation for each National Olympic Committee.

The 12 highest-placed nations per relay event at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships will qualify for the Olympics in Japan based upon the final standings.

Where to watch

Although the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju take place July 12-28, the swimming events take place in the final week only: From 21-28 July.

The 2021 event will be held in Fukuoka, Japan.

Don't forget to follow the Olympic Channel's daily live blog from the World Championships in Gwangju.

The schedule

12 July: Opening Ceremony

13 July: Open Water Swimming (Men's 5km), Synchronised Swimming (Solo technical routine final), Diving (Mixed 10m platform final, Women's 1 metre springboard final, Men's Synchronised 3m springboard final)

14 July: Open Water Swimming (Women's 10km), Synchronised Swimming (Duet technical routine final), Diving (Men's 1m springboard final, Women's Synchronised 10m platform final), Water Polo Women (Preliminary round)

15 July: Synchronised Swimming (Mixed duet technical routine final, Highlight routine final), Diving (Women's Synchronised 3m springboard final, Men's Synchronised 10m platform final), Water Polo Men (Preliminary round)

16 July: Open Water Swimming (Men's 10km), Synchronised Swimming (Team technical routine final), Diving (Team event), Water Polo Women (Preliminary round)

17 July: Open Water Swimming (Women's 5km), Synchronised Swimming (Solo free routine final), Diving (Women's 10m platform final), Water Polo Men (Preliminary round)

18 July: Open Water Swimming (5km team), Synchronised Swimming (Duet free routine final), Diving (Men's 3m springboard final), Water Polo Women (Preliminary round)

19 July: Open Water Swimming (Men's and Women's 25km), Synchronised Swimming (Team free routine final), Diving (Women's 3m springboard final), Water Polo Men (Preliminary round)

20 July: Synchronised Swimming (Mixed duet free routine final, Free combination final), Diving (Mixed 3m springboard final, Men's 10m platform final), Water Polo Women (Play-offs/Placement matches)

21 July: Swimming (400m Freestyle Men, 400m Freestyle Women, 4x100m Freestyle Relay Men), Water Polo Men (Play-offs/Placement matches)

22 July: Swimming (100m Breakstroke Men, 100m Butterfly Women, 50m Butterfly Men, 200m Individual Medley Women), Water Polo Women (Quarterfinals/Placement matches)

23 July: Swimming (200m Freestyle Men, 1500m Freestyle Women, 100m Backstroke Women, 100m Backstroke Men, 100m Breaststroke Women), High Diving (Women Rounds 3-4), Water Polo Men (Quarterfinals/Placement matches)

24 July: Swimming (800m Freestyle Men, 200m Freestyle Women, 200m Butterfly Men, 50m Breaststroke Men, 4x100m Medley Relay Mixed), High Diving (Men Rounds 3-4), Water Polo Women (Semifinals/Placement matches)

25 July: Swimming (200m Butterfly Women, 100m Freestyle Men, 50m Backstroke Women, 200m Individual Medley Men, 4x200m Freestyle Relay Women), Water Polo Men (Semifinals/Placement matches)

26 July: Swimming (100m Freestyle Women, 200m Breaststroke Women, 200m Backstroke Men, 200m Breaststroke Men, 4x200m Freestyle Relay Men), Water Polo Women (Women's finals)

27 July: Swimming (50m Butterfly Women, 50m Freestyle Men, 100m Butterfly Men, 20m Backstroke Women, 800m Freestyle Women, 4x100m Freestyle Relay Mixed), Water Polo Men (Men's finals)

28 July: Swimming (1500m Freestyle Men, 50m Breaststroke Women, 50m Freestyle Women, 50m Backstroke Men, 400m Individual Medley Women, 400m Individual Medley Men, 4x100m Medley Relay Women, 4x100m Medley Relay Men), Closing Ceremony


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