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 firstname.lastname@example.org