18th FINA World Aquatics Championships Opens Friday; Swimming Begins July 21

By Sharon Robb

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 10, 2019—The 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships will make its debut in Korea on Friday.

The biggest FINA event, held over 17 days, will feature competitions in all six aquatic disciplines–swimming, diving, high diving, open water swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo competing for 76 gold medals.

With the slogan of “Dive Into Peace” the world championships will offer a sneak preview of what’s to come at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Several international athletes are competing for Olympic berths.

The 18th edition of the FINA World Championships has attracted the largest number of athletes in event history with 2,639 from 194 countries.

With 82 athletes, host South Korea will have the largest contingent of athletes including 29 in swimming. South Korea will make its debut in open water swimming and water polo at worlds.

Swimming, the most popular event, will not begin until July 21, at the Nambu University Memorial Aquatics Center. The U.S. team leads in medals with 208 gold medals in 17 world championships.

China is expected to dominate the diving, that begins Friday. Divers will compete for 13 gold medals.

High diving, made from heights over 20 meters, made its debut at the 2013 world championships in Barcelona and is attracting a strong fan base around the world. Male divers will jump from a 27-meter platform and women will dive from 20-meters. Only two gold medals are available. In 2017, Steve LoBue of Pembroke Pines won gold. High diving will be held July 22-24 at the Chosun University High Diving competition venue.

More than 1,097 athletes from 47 countries will compete in synchronized swimming. Ten gold medals are up for grabs. Russia is expected to dominate.

Nearly 400 swimmers from 60 countries will compete in open water swimming held at the Yeosu EXPO Ocean Park Open Water swimming venue. The July 13-19 events featuring 5K, 10K and 25K distances will award seven gold medals.

Water polo is the only competitive team sport at worlds. Hungary, Italy and the U.S. will be playing for gold in the men’s and women’s tournaments, July 14-27.

PREVIEW COMING UP NEXT WEEK: South Florida will be well-represented in pool swimming at worlds with South Florida Aquatic Club’s Olympic veterans Nguyen Vien of Vietnam and Alia Atkinson of Jamaica along with several other swimmers from around the Florida Gold Coast.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Another Sixteen-Year-Old Breaks World Record On Day Three Of World Championships

Another Sixteen-Year-Old Breaks World Record On Day Three Of World Championships


July 30, 2013

For the second day in a row, a 16-year-old teenager broke a world record and won gold Tuesday at the 15th FINA World Long Course Swimming Championships at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.

Katie Ledecky, 16, the world’s new distance queen, upstaged Missy Franklin by winning the 1500-meter freestyle in 15:36.53 to break the oldest standing world record.

Ledecky and Denmark’s Lotte Friis separated themselves from the rest of the field and battled it out until the final 50 meters when Ledecky reached for another gear for a 29.47 split.

Ledecky has now won the Olympic gold at the 2012 London Olympics and 400 title at worlds.

Friis was second in 15:38.88, a European record. Both broke the previous world mark of Kate Ziegler’s world record of 15:42.54 that had held up even through the techsuit era.

“The main goal was just to come out on top,” Ledecky said. “I knew we were going pretty fast and I figured whoever was going to come out on top was going to get the world record.

“I had to be careful not to push it too early, not to push it too late, and just touch the wall first. Around the last 200, I knew I could take off.”

“I’m still 16 so I hope I have plenty years left of swimming,” Ledecky said with a smile. “The world record means the world to me. Kate Ziegler, who had the world record, is from my area back home. I’ve looked up to her my whole life and I am really honored to break that world record and to keep it in Potomac Valley.”

Also winning gold for the U.S. on Tuesday was Missy Franklin, who led from start to finish, in the women’s 100-meter backstroke in 58.41 and Matt Grevers in the men’s 100-meter backstroke in 52.91.

In the men’s 200-meter freestyle, France’s Yannick Agnel won gold in 1:44.20 and his training partner at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, Connor Dwyer, came from seventh place to finish second in 1:45.32.

Both Agnel and Dwyer are coached by Bob Bowman. Russian Danila Izotov edged defending champion Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach for the bronze in 1:45.59 to 1:45.64.

The U.S. finished Day Three with three gold medals, two silvers and one bronze. The U.S. team now has six gold, four silver and four bronze medals.

Day Four events are men’s 100-meter freestyle, women’s 50-meter backstroke, men’s 200-meter butterfly final, women’s 200-meter freestyle final, men’s 50-meter breaststroke final, women’s 200-meter butterfly, men’s 800-meter freestyle final.

Today’s TV Schedule: Wednesday, July 31, 12-2 p.m. live, Universal Sports.



200-meter freestyle: 1. Yannick Agnel, France 1:44.20, 2. Conor Dwyer, USA 1:45.32, 3. Danila Izotov, Russia 1:45.59.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Matt Grevers, USA 52.93, 2. David Plummer, USA 53.12, 3. Jeremy Stravius, France 53.21.


1500-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, USA 15:36.53, world record, 2. Lotte Friis, Denmark 15:38.88, 3. Lauren Boyle, New Zealand 15:44.71.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Missy Franklin, USA 58.42, 2. Emily Seebohm, Australia 59.06, 3. Aya Terakawa, Japan 59.23.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Ruta Meilutyte, Lithuania 1:04.42, 2. Yuliya Efimova, Russia 1:05.02, 3. Jessicca Hardy, USA 1:05.52.


American Cesilie Carlton, plunging the equivalent of a seven-story building, won the inaugural gold medal in the extreme sport of high diving at the world aquatic championships.

Carlton, 32, of San Antonio, Tex., who has vertigo and is afraid of heights and flying, won the inaugural event by plunging off a 20-meter platform into Barcelona’s murky harbor.

U.S. teammate Ginger Huber took the silver.

“I’m afraid of heights,” Carlton said. “That’s why I go very quickly. I don’t look down for a long time. But I know that I have control of what I am doing. The toughest part is looking over.”

Carlton clinched it on her final dive, a triple half pike, to total 211.60 points. She moved up from third place. Huber had 206.70 points and German Anna Bader took the bronze with 203.90.

The men’s competition off 27 meters concludes on Wednesday.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com