FINA Reveals Aquatics Festival in Abu Dhabi, Expanded Scholarship Program

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FINA made a pair of announcements on Wednesday, revealing an Aquatics Festival around the 2021 World Short-Course Championships in Abu Dhabi and details on scholarship opportunities around the event.

The aquatics festival will take place in parallel to the World Championships, which start in 100 days on Dec. 16. The six-day event will include world championships for diving, high diving and open water swimming as well, which comprise the extended festival.

All the events will take place on Yas Island in the United Arab Emirates. It will include the final leg of the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series 2021, with an open-water mixed relay component of four individuals over 6 total kilometers.

The diving event will also have a team exhibition, alternating dives from the 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform. The High Diving event will be a qualifier for the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, in May 2022.

“The FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) will close a wonderful year of swimming, and will now be enhanced with the addition of the FINA High Diving Qualifier, the FINA Diving Exhibition as well as the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series and an innovative Open Water Swim Mixed Relay,” FINA president Husain Al-Musallam said in a press release. “We are confident this aquatic festival will prove hugely popular with our athletes, the sports fans and the wider UAE community. With an increased number of top-class athletes from around the world now set to be involved in this multi-sport programme, the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) promises to be the perfect occasion to conclude the sporting year.”

FINA also launched its FINA Scholarships Program for 2021-22, which it calls, “an ambitious and robust Programme to prepare and qualify a limited number of athletes” for the Abu Dhabi and Fukuoka worlds. It will award 140 scholarships in swimming, diving and open water, the highest number since the creation of the program in 2015. The Tokyo Olympics included 62 athletes (57 swimmers, five divers) who had received FINA scholarships.

The goal is to get athletes in countries developing their swim programs additional resources to travel to countries where they can access top-flight facilities and coaching. FINA has already signaled a desire to invest more heavily in areas such as Africa that historically lack elite swimming resources.

FINA had previously announced an expanded prize pool for the short-course championships to $2.8 million. That’s an increase of 50 percent for individual event winners with a $50,000 bonus for individual world records.

Prize money for the new events include:

  • Open Water: 1. $15,000 2. $12,000 3. $10,500 4. $9,000 5. $7,500 6. $6,000 7. $4,500 8. $3,000
  • Open Water Mixed Relay Team: 1. $ 20,000 2. $16,000 3. $12,000
  • High Diving: 1. $15,000 2. $12,000 3. $10,500 4. $9,000 5. $7,500 6. $6,000 7. $4,500 8. $3,000 9. $2000 10. $1000 11. to end $500
  • Diving Team: 1. $15,000 2. $12,000 3. $10,500 4. $9,000 5. $7,500 6. $6,000 7. $4,500 8. $3,000

FINA Aquatics Festival Schedule

  • Dec. 15: Open Water Swim Mixed Relay 4 x 1,500m
  • Dec. 16: FINA/ CNSG Marathon Swim World Series (10km); Opening Ceremony of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)
  • Dec. 16-21: FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)
  • Dec. 19-20: FINA Diving Exhibition/Team event; FINA High Diving Qualifier
  • Dec. 21: Closing Ceremony of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)

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