Category Archives: Aquatic Sports


The 2019 season has come to an end for the best divers in the world with the conclusion of the FINA Diving Grand Prix in Singapore, from November 22-24. After the ninth-leg event, China and Italy shared the honours in the overall ranking of the individual events of the competition.

In the men’s 3m springboard, Lorenzo Marsaglia (ITA) was the best in 2019, with a total of 101 points. He was followed by Colombian talent Daniel Restrepo Garcia, with 97, and by China’s Tai Xiaohu, with 95. In the women’s side, Noemi Batki, also from Italy, led operations in the 10m platform (105 points), while for the second overall place Maria Kurjo (GER) and Celina Toth (CAN) both accumulated 103 points.

China’s dominance was confirmed in the men’s 10m platform, with Yuan Song finishing first with 106 points. Puerto Rico’s Rafael Quintero (95) and Mexico’s Jose Diego Balleza (88) completed the leading trio in the event. In the lower board, Wei Ying (111 points) and Ma Tong (102) dominated in the women’s category, and were followed by Alysha Koloi (AUS, 87) in the third position.

In the final leg of the circuit in Singapore, representatives of the Asian powerhouse earned gold in all individual events, adding three more titles in synchro action.

Among men, Tai Xiaohu controlled operations in the 3m springboard, while his teammate Duan Yu was in the best in the 10m platform (he also won the synchro event, with teammate Wang Zewei). In the 3m springboard synchro, the Chinese pair Tai Xiaohu/Zhang Chao was leading until the last dive, but a shaky forward 4 ½ somersaults in the final round allowed the French duet Gwendal Bisch/Alexis Jandard to take gold in 406.38.

In the women’s events, China got the four titles on offer, with Huang Xiaohui and Tang Yixuan prevailing in the 3m and 10m, respectively. Both divers were also part of the winning duets in the synchro finals.

Switzerland (3m synchro) and Mexico (10m synchro) were the two other countries with gold medals in the Singaporean rendezvous, competing in the two mixed finals in the programme.

Great Britain, Japan, Puerto Rico, Russia and Ukraine completed the list of nations with podium presences in the last meet of the season.

The 2019 FINA Diving Grand Prix kicked-off on February 14 in Rostock (GER) and touched the five continents, with its subsequent legs being staged in Calgary (CAN), Mission Viejo (USA), Madrid (ESP), Bolzano (ITA), Cairo (EGY), Gold Coast (AUS), Kuala Lumpur (MAS), and finally Singapore (SGP).

Photo credit: FINA



3m springboard: 1. Lorenzo Marsaglia (ITA) 101 points; 2. Daniel Restrepo Garcia (COL) 97 pts; 3. Tai Xiaohui (CHN) 95 pts

10m platform: 1. Yuan Song (CHN) 106 points; 2. Rafael Quintero Diaz (PUR) 95 pts; 3. Jose Diego Balleza (MEX) 88 pts


3m springboard: 1. Wei Ying (CHN) 111 points; 2. Ma Tong (CHN) 102 pts; 3. Alysha Koloi (AUS) 87 pts

10m platform: 1. Noemi Batki (ITA) 105 points; 2. Maria Kurjo (GER) 103 pts; 2. Celina Toth (CAN) 103 pts.


After five legs and two clusters, held from the beginning of August until mid-October, some of the best swimmers in the planet are ready to compete in the last two events of the 2019 FINA Swimming World Cup, taking place in Kazan (RUS, November 1-3) and Doha (QAT, November 7-9).

Before the final rendezvous of the year, Vladimir Morozov, from Russia, is leading the overall ranking among men, with 264 points. Moreover, he won 15 gold medals so far, corresponding to five victories (out of five) in three events: 50m and 100m free, and 50m back. He is followed by Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys (177 points, and sole winner of the season in the 200m and 400m free) and by Michael Andrew (USA), third at this stage with 132 points. Morozov was the winner of the first cluster of the competition, which included the Tokyo (JPN), Jinan (CHN) and Singapore (SGP) legs. In Cluster 2 (Budapest and Berlin), the Russia star was second, behind Dutch ace Arno Kamminga.

In the women’s field, Cate Campbell, from Australia, is provisionally leading operations, being the first of the ranking with 243 points. She is closely followed by Katinka Hosszu (HUN, 240). The Magyar great, who is showing a total supremacy so far in the 200m fly, and 200m and 400m IM, won the first cluster of the circuit, while Campbell was the best in the second cluster of the World Cup. In third of the overall ranking so far is Michelle Coleman, from Sweden (135 points).

A total of 23 (included one equalled) Swimming World Cup records have been established so far. Finally, swimmers from 36 nations have already won at least one medal in the competition: the chart is led by Australia with 84 podium presences (40 gold, 23 silver, 21 bronze), Hungary (79 – 27+35+17) and Russia (35 – 18+6+11).

BERLIN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 13: Cate Campbell (R) of Australia and Arno Kamminga (L) of the Netherlands pose during the medal ceremony during day three of the FINA Swimming World Cup Berlin at Schwimm- und Sprunghalle im Europasportpark (SSE) on October 13, 2019 in Berlin. (Photo by Ronny Hartmann/Getty Images)

2020 calendar unveiled

Before the conclusion of the 2019 edition, FINA announced the 2020 calendar of the FINA Swimming World Cup, comprising six meets from September to November. All three-day legs will take place in 25m-pool, as they will be qualification events for the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), scheduled for Abu Dhabi (UAE) on December 2020.

The first cluster of the 2020 FINA Swimming World Cup will be contested few weeks after the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympic Games, with Singapore hosting the first meet on September 4-6, and Jinan (CHN) staging the second rendezvous on September 10-12.

The swimming stars will then proceed to the second cluster of the season, which will comprise two meets in Kazan (RUS) on October 2-4 and Doha (QAT) on October 8-10.

The 2020 FINA Swimming World Cup will then come to an end with the third cluster in Berlin (GER) on October 23-25 and the final leg in Budapest (HUN) on October 30-November 1.



The 2019 circuit of the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series resumes on Sunday September 29 in Chun’An, China, for the ultimate meet of the season after eight previous legs in Doha (QAT), Seychelles (SEY), Setubal (POR), Balatonfured (HUN), Lac St Jean (CAN), Lac Megantic (CAN), Ohrid (MKD) and Nantou (TPE) from February to September 2019.

Close to 50 of the world’s best swimmers have registered for the Chinese leg, 29 men and 18 women from Bolivia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Singapore, Thailand and Venezuela.

Ranking leaders Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky and Italy’s Rachele Bruni are set to take part in the 10km race in their respective gender category while the runners-up Matteo Furlan (ITA) and Ana Marcela Cunha (BRA) will also take the plunge in the Chinese waters.

Amongst the other men to watch for on Sunday are Olympic champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands, teammate Marcel Schouten, Brazil’s veteran Allan do Carmo and Andreas Waschburger of Germany, while the women’s race will be highlighted by the participation of the Italian Arianna Bridi and China’s Xin Xin.

The races will be live streamed on FINAtv.

Photo credit: FINA

Current 2019 ranking

The 2020 edition of the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series will again stop in the four continents with Doha (QAT) as the first host, respecting the recent years’ tradition to welcome the initial stage of the event, on February 15.

The circuit will then move to the Seychelles (date to be confirmed) and Setubal (POR) on June 13. Still in Europe, the long distance swimmers will head to Balatonfured (date to be confirmed), the lake that welcomed the open water competition of the 2017 FINA World Championships, before flying to Canada to take part in the two traditional meets in Lac St Jean (July 23) and Lac Megantic (August 8). Ohrid, in Macedonia and Chun’An (CHN) will be the last two hosts of the 2020 competition (dates to be confirmed).



On the day of speeding, USA’s Caeleb Dressel became the first man swimming the 100m free under 47sec wearing a textile suit. The Australian 4x200m free relay brought down another shiny World Record from 2009, while fellow Aussie Matthew Wilson equalled the 200m breast WR in the semis. Japan’s Daya Seto, specialist in the 400m IM, claimed the 200m title for the first time in his career, while Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas stunned the field and touched first to keep the 200m fly titles in Hungarian possession here. Another US win came in the women’s 50m back, courtesy of Olivia Smoliga.

Well, if one considered Michael Phelps’s shiny World Record in the 200m fly untouchable, then what about Cesar Cielo’s blast from Rome 2009, 46.91 in a full-body rubber suit which was premium aide for the sprinters? Yesterday Phelps’ mark was gone, while today Caeleb Dressel rocketed to an amazing win in the 100m free and almost chased down the WR, clocking 46.96, just 0.05 shy of the all-time best effort.

Before tonight and considering only times in textile, Aussie Cameron McEvoy’s 47.04 was the closest to the old mark from 2016, now Dressel managed to clock the first 46sec time while retaining his title (France’s Alain Bernard was the other who ever dipped under 47, but also in a supersuit). Dressel’s incredible swim was a great message: sooner than later all 2009 records will go. (One actually fell later, see below.)

Olivia Smoliga soon delivered another gold for the US as she won the backstroke dash in a fine race, out-touching the reigning champion Etiene Medeiros (BRA) 0.11sec.

Japan got its first gold in Gwangju thanks to Daya Seto who staged a thrilling duel with European champion Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland. The Japanese led from the 100m turn and managed to withstand the pressure from the Swiss while title-holder Chase Kalisz tried to gear up in the second half after having turned 7th but his late surge earned him only the bronze this time.

Based on personal bests and times clocked in the heats and semis, the US duo of Hali Flickinger and Katie Dabot were the absolute favourites, and three more finalists had much better PBs than Boglarka Kapas but the tiny Hungarian cared only racing and in that she bested the entire field. It seemed that the favourites wanted to preserve as much energy as possible against the European champion’s well-known charge in the second 100m but their tactics didn’t work. Though Kapas turned 8th at the halfway mark 2 seconds behind the leaders, she then launched her trademark attack and the leaders couldn’t handle the pressure. Despite achieving much better times even in the heats, Flickinger and Dabot had to settle for the minor spoils while Kapas was all tears while celebrating her first-ever world title. Turning to a flier after Olympic and world bronzes taken as a distance freestyler, the tiny Magyar showed that such transition could work perfectly while joining Kristof Milak as Hungarian winners in the 200m fly events – indeed this is a historical double, never before the same nation managed to win the men and the women 200m fly in the same edition.

Photo credit: FINA

The women’s 4x200m free relay was another showdown between the title-holder US team and Australia. Katie Ledecky was back to action despite some news that she had finished her campaign here due to illness. She took the lead for her team and built a gap of 0.30sec till halfway but that was melt down to 0.09 sec before the anchor leg. And Emma McKeon took charge over the last lap and brought home the Aussies in a world record time of 7:41.50 to eclipse one of the last female WRs standing from the 2009 shiny era. In fact, the Chinese held the mark since 10 years and that was the only occasion in the last nine editions (since 2003) when not the US team claimed the title. The Aussies halted the Americans run now at eight and clinched this relay’s gold for the first time ever – as well as adding this to their 4x100m free gold.

Beforehand the session already saw an Aussie achieving a World Record, though it was ‘just’ equalling one in the 200m breast semis: Matthew Wilson clocked the same time of Ippei Watanabe (JPN) from 2017, 2:06.67 – but title-holder Anton Chupkov (RUS) was also close (0.16sec away) so a real showdown is due in the final on Friday.


Four out of five finals staged on Day 3 saw title-defences, three of those were rather convincing as Kyle Masse (CAN) and Xu Jiaju (CHN – top picture) both repeated their 2017 wins in the 100m back just as Lilly King in the 100m breast. Sun Yang’s win in the 200m free came after the disqualification of Danis Rapsys (LTU) who had touched first. Another repetition was in sight in the women’s 1500m free but Katie Ledecky had to halt her quest in Gwangju due to illness – and Simone Quadarella (ITA) sat up on the vacant throne.

The evening session just barely kicked off when high drama unfolded – as it turned out, the crucial moment came right before the first race started. Standing on the starting block, Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys made an incidental move after the “Take your marks” signal which equalled a false start. Rapsys ended up winning the race with a brilliant swim, ahead of Sun Yang (CHN), but soon after he had hit the wall, the ‘DSQ’ mark appeared next to his name. In fact, his faith had long been decided, some 1:45 minutes earlier when he made that wicked move. Sun was declared the winner (thus he made the 200-400m double again after 2017), ahead of Yasuhito Matsumoto (JPN) who earned his nation’s very first medal in this event, while Duncan Scott (GBR) and Martin Malyutin (RUS) shared the bronze.

The next event offered much more calm – a bit sadly, though, as the queen was missing from the race. USA’s Katie Ledecky was battling with illness and she was on the losing side this time – first she withdrew from the 200m free heats in the morning, then she had to take the tough decision to abruptly finish her campaign here. Without her, the 1500m free crown was up for grabs and Simone Quadarella was quick enough to take it. The Italian added the world title to her European crown, she became the 4th best performer of all time and Italy’s second winner in this event – 10 years after Alessia Filippi. It was somewhat stylish that she brought down her predecessor’s NR set in Rome 2009 (15:40.89 – though Ledecky’s best ten times are still better than this). Germany’s Sarah Kohler was a distant second while China’s Wang Jianjiahe grabbed the bronze.

The backstrokers’ show followed, both 100m finals saw thrilling contests. Canada’s Kyle Masse, who won in Budapest with a new WR, turned 4th at the halfway mark but produced an amazing homecoming leg to retain her title. The fight for the minor spoils was absolutely tight, three swimmers hit the wall in a span of 0.11sec, Aussie Minna Atherton just out-touched USA’s Olivia Smoliga and the other Canadian Taylor Ruck. Interestingly, Kathleen Baker, who broke Masse’s WR last August and was silver medallist in 2017, could only finish tied 6th.

The men’s race didn’t bring any less excitements as four were heading towards the wall forming an almost straight line. Title-holder Xu Jiaju of China found the necessary extra gear to touch home first, 0.24sec ahead of Russia’s Evgeny Rylov (who showed his class in the shorter distance as he was king of the 200m in recent years). Tiny margins decided the bronze, three stormed in within 0.05sec, 2015 world champion Mitch Larkin (AUS) was the fastest, ahead of the two US Olympic champs (and the medallists in 2017) Ryan Murphy and Matt Grevers.

Photo credit: FINA

Another title defence closed the session: USA’s Lilly King led all the way in the 100m breast and won with the only sub-1:05 effort of the field, ahead of Yuliya Efimova (RUS). Martina Carraro came third, claiming Italy’s first ever medal in female breaststroke events at the Worlds.

In the semis, not quite surprisingly, GB’s Adam Peaty got close to his WR in the 50m breast (26.11, just 0.16sec shy). The women’s 200m free promises an outstanding battle in the final as five swimmers already posted 1:55s, Federica Pellegrini (ITA), winner in 2017 was the fastest but Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) also looks for some fine consolation after her 100m fly defeat. The last of this elite circle, 5th placed Yang Junxuan from China set a new Junior World Record (1:55.99). Hungary’s Youth Olympic Champion Kristof Milak sent a strong message to his rivals in the 200m fly by clocking 1:52.96 – this is his third 1:52 effort in two years, while no majors were won with sub-1:53 times since the 2012 London Olympics…


Sarah Sjostrom could have been the first female swimmer ever to win four consecutive titles in the same event but the Swedish superstar was upset by Canada’s Margaret McNeil in the 100m fly. Thus, half an hour later it was Katinka Hosszu who achieved this historical feat in the 200m IM. Even more remarkably, on the international stage Hosszu’s unbeaten run stands at 61 races in this event. GB’s Adam Peaty also delivered in the 100m breast, he won this event for the third time, while US rocket Caeleb Dressel clocked the second fastest time ever to win the 50m fly.

In the opening race Adam Peaty swam in the class of his own, only the silver was up for grabs for the others. A bit surprisingly it ended up in a British 1-2 as James Wilby touched the wall behind his compatriot (1.32sec was the gap) and China’s Yan Zibei was a surprise bronze medallist as he cracked the Asian Record (58.63).

In the meantime some were slightly disappointed as Peaty swam his WR in the semis with such ease that he was expected to do it again. Though record-breaking is not a pastime even for the British Lion – he kind of foresaw that a day ago saying that his primary target is the world title, the WR was a bonus (but a good one, earned him an extra $30.000) – so he clocked a solid 57.14, the 4th best ever time in history. Note, the first three times also belong to him and the following seven as well…

Next should have come another golden chapter for Sarah Sjostrom in her pet event, the 100m fly and this win would have marked the 10th anniversary of her first triumph in Rome 2009. The Sweden world record holder aimed for her 5th crown in this event but amazingly she came up short. Though she turned first and was under her WR split but in the second 50m Canada’s 19 year-old Margaret McNeil came from behind (she turned 5th) and gained an amazing 1.2sec on Sjostrom to win the race by 0.39sec, with a new American Record. Just like the 100m breast for Peaty, this event was solely Sjostrom’s territory, only her name appeared on the all-time list of the top ten times – now McNeil’s will also be there, on the 8th place, and this promises a magnificent battle for 2020. After the victory ceremony, the three medallists – the bronze went to Aussie Emma McKeon – offered a moving gesture by sending a message of support to Japanese butterflier Rikako Ikee who is now battling with leukaemia.

This upset opened the way for Katinka Hosszu to write history. Had Sjostrom triumphed in the 100m fly she would have become the first female swimmer ever winning four straight titles in the same event. Instead of her, the Hungarian medley queen took this distinction by adding another title to her magnificent treasury, 8th overall and 4th in a row over 200m IM (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019). She also equalled compatriot Laszlo Cseh’s feat of claiming titles at the Worlds 10 years apart: Cseh got one in 2005 and another one in 2015, while Hosszu’s first gold came in 2009.


In fact, there is a more amazing stat for Hosszu in this event. Her very last defeat in the 200m IM dates back to 15 December 2012, when Ye Shiwen beat her at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Istanbul (the Chinese had a comeback here and claimed silver). Since then: Hosszu won. Each event, everywhere. Four long-course world titles, three l/c European titles, three short-course world and three s/c European golds and the Olympic crown in Rio – so at the majors she stands 14/14. Add 44 World Cup races with 44 wins (2013-2018), the three legs of the FINA Champions Swim Series this season, so at FINA and continental meets her winning count stands at 61/61. Incredible as it is.

Man of the meet in 2017, Caeleb Dressel of the US kicked off his 2019 campaign in style, he was a cut above the rest in the 50m fly, his 22.35 is the second fastest time ever. When he amassed seven titles in Budapest he could not win this event, so the goldmine opened earlier than expected. Russia’s Oleg Kostin was a surprise runner-up but it was the bronze medallist who might just as well have been the happiest man on Earth.

Nicholas Santos had not been selected for this championships by his federation as the Brazil veteran did not meet the criteria requiring qualifying times in Olympic events. Even though Santos could break the short-course WR last October in the 50m fly, and clocked fine times in long-course too, he was left out from the team. Learning this, FINA decided to invite him to Gwangju, covered all his expenses – and Santos paid that back with an invaluable performance, worthy of the bronze medal. Aged 39, his feat is truly remarkable.



Ariarne Titmus (AUS) stunned Katie Ledecky (USA) to hand the American her first-ever defeat over 400m free at major international events. Sun Yang (CHN) claimed his 4th straight title in the same event among the men. The men’s 4x100m relay crown remained in the possession of the US team while the women’s one was passed back to Australia. The first World Record also fell right on the opening day of the swimming competition: Adam Peaty (GRB) became the first man swimming the 100m breast under 57 seconds.

Ariarne Titmus did what no other woman could in the past: beat Katie Ledecky in a 400m free race. It was a tremendous duel between the two greats, Titmus went out fast and kept leading in the first half of the event but Ledecky seemed to take the upper hand afterwards and turned first to the last lap holding a gap of 0.62sec. Then came something special: Titmus could find an extra gear to stun the American, creating a scene never seen before, that Ledecky is passed in the final leg. It happened, Titmus produced a 29.51 last 50 while Ledecky clocked 31.34 to fall behind by 1.21sec at the end.

photo credit: FINA

Beforehand, the top 10 fastest ever times belonged to Ledecky, Titmus’ latest effort (3:58.76) now sits on the 8th place, kind of showing that the queen was a bit off her best this evening. The race for the bronze was no less exciting as Leah Smith of the US chased Hungarian prodigy Ajna Kesely from the start and managed to out-touch her by 0.02sec at the wall.

Before that, the session kicked off with another gold for Sun Yang who won the 400m free for the fourth time in a row. The podium was the same as two years ago in Budapest, the Chinese managed to beat Mack Horton and Gabriele Detti once more. While the Aussie and the Italian came somewhat faster than in 2017 – and a similar gap separated them: 0.06 here, 0.08 back then –, and Sun was a bit slower (3:41.28 in 2017, 3:42.44 now), still, he bested his rivals with ease.

The men’s 4x100m free relay was a true speed festival, it was amazing to see that the field got a lot faster in two years. While in 2017 seven swimmers clocked 47sec splits, not 19 (!) were in that range. The US quartet won with a new Championship Record (3:09.06), a brilliant feat as they brought down the shiny CR from Rome 2009 and was just 0.82 shy of their 2008 WR. Zach Apple threw in a 46.86 split in the second leg, a big boost for the team which gained 0.91sec on the runners-up Russians and the Aussies came third.

In the women’s relay Australia avenged their defeat in Budapest where the US reached the wall first. It took a thriller to get this outcome: at the halfway mark the US led but Canada took over at 300m while the Aussies turned second pushing the US back to third. Still, it came down to a showdown between Cate Campbell (AUS) and Simone Manuel (USA). Both produced an amazing homecoming leg, Campbell – missing from the show in 2017 – stormed to a truly incredible 51.45 split, Manuel also got inside 52sec but at the end it was a clear win for the women from Down Under. Canada clinched the bronze comfortably ahead of the Netherlands.

Though the title battles were in the spotlight, a couple of outstanding swims channelled a great deal of attention towards the semis as well. Above all, Adam Peaty’s historical 100m breast which saw the first male ever covering this distance inside 57sec. The British Lion roared again, beat his world record from last summer by 0.22 (56.88 is the new mark), a jaw-dropping performance right on the first day.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu also showed something special in the 200m IM where she is set to win a 4th straight title. She clocked 2:07.02 in the morning, the fastest heat swim ever and 2:07.17 in the evening, the 7th and 8th fastest time respectively in the all-time ranks. She admittedly eyes her 2015 WR (2:06.12) tomorrow but she might barely get a push from the others as she looked way better than the others.

On the contrary, women of the meet in 2017, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom was already pushed by Canada’s Margaret Macneil who finished just 0.23sec behind her in the SF – Sjostrom was just 0.23sec better this evening. In the men’s 50m fly five swimmers already got under 23sec, as many as in the final in Budapest, and USA’s Caeleb Dressel was way faster than the winning time in 2017.