USA swimmer Ryan Lochte reacts after winning the gold medal in the mens 400 individual medley during the 2012 London Olympic Games at Aquatics Centre.
Courtesy of: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
PHOENIX, Arizona, July 5. MORE prize money will be available to more athletes at the FINA world championships, with the global governing body offering nearly twice as much cash this year than was on offer at the 2011 edition.

FINA announced that US$3.1 million will be paid to athletes and teams that place in the top six in five of the six aquatic disciplines in Barcelona. High diving, making its world championship debut this month, will award the top 14 male participants, while the top eight females will win prize money in high diving.

The purse is an increase of more than $1.17 million from 2011, with high diving accounting for nearly all the new money available this year. As always, athletes who wish to retain their NCAA eligibility will have to turn down the prize money. That will apply to 21 of the 50 members of the USA world championship roster competing in the pool and open water swimming events, as well as nearly half of the diving and water polo teams. Canada's swim team features NCAA athletes with potential to place in the top six, including Brittany McLean and Sinead Russell. Should Brazil place in the top six in the 800 free relay, Joao de Lucca will have to refuse prize money in order to have a chance to defend his 200 free title in 2014. As is the case with NCAA athletes in the FINA World Cup, all refused money simply remains with FINA and is not redistributed among eligible athletes.


Gold medalists in pool swimming races in Barcelona will receive $15,000 per event, with second place earning $10,000 and bronze medalists winning $5,000. Fourth place gets $4,000, while fifth gets $3,000 and sixth place receives $2,000. These amounts will be distributed evenly among the athletes in relay events. It is unclear if prelim-only swimmers will get a cut of the prize money.

Pool swimmers have an added incentive: World record swims earn a $25,000 bonus on top of the $15,000 for winning the event. This bonus is separate from the $3.1 million in prize money, and will not be capped at a particular number of world marks broken.

For swimmers with heavy event schedules such as Ryan Lochte, who is primed to place in the top six in four individual events and three relays, paydays could approach six figures by the end of the meet.

This prize distribution applies to open water swimming races and diving events as well. Synchronized swimming will follow the same payout schedule in solo and duet events. Team and free combination events offer more money: $30,000 for first place, with second getting $25,000 and third place earning $20,000. Fourth place earns $15,000, while fifth gets $10,000 and sixth place gets $5,000.

As for water polo, the men's and women's gold medal teams each get $60,000 to distribute among players. The teams that win silver in each gender get $40,000, with the bronze medalists earning $30,000. Fourth place finishers, while not getting a medal, will share $20,000, with fifth place getting $10,000 and sixth place earning $5,000.

Based on FINA's list of confirmed athletes participating in the inaugural high diving event, all 14 men will receive some cash award for competing, while each of the five female competitors will take home some prize money. The gold medalist in each gender will win $10,000 and the cash prizes for the remaining divers decreases by about $1,000 down the list.

FINA worlds prize distribution list