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Around the Rings: FINA World Championships in Review

2013 World Aquatics Championships End

8/5/2013

The United States, China, and Russia top the medals table  at the 15th World Aquatics Championships.

High diving at the aquatics world championships in Barcelona. (Getty Images)


Barcelona hosted competition which started July 29 and ended on Sunday. 

Athletes from 180 countries participated in swimming, water polo, synchronized swimming, open water swimming, and diving competitions.

FINA President Julio Caesar Maglione spoke during the closing ceremony calling the event "unforgettable." 

“During two weeks, our best athletes performed at the highest level with remarkable result," he said. 

“The 15th FINA World Championships has increased the importance and value of all our aquatic disciplines and FINA brand gained more exposure and prestige. 

“These Championships were unforgettable.” 

China’s Sun Yang of China earned male swimmer of the meet. 

Six world records were set at the championships. 

USA Swimmers Dominate

The United States won the most medals overall, 34 as well as the most gold medals 15. 

US swimmer Katie Ledecky celebrates a noteworthy performance in Barcelona. (Getty Images)


Twenty-nine of the total medals won by the U.S. went to swimmers. 

US swimmer Katie Ledecky received the title for FINA’s top female swimmer of the meet. Ledecky won four gold medals, set the American record in the 400m free, and set a world record in both the 800m and 1500m free.

Other US swimmers had notable victories: Missy Franklin won six gold medals, Ryan Lochte earned three gold medals and one silver, Nathan Adrian took home one silver medal and one bronze, and Jessica Hardy won two bronze medals. 
 

US swimmer Missy Franklin launches into competition during the final day of the aquatics championships. (Getty Images)

“I don’t even know what to say,” Missy Franklin said in a statement to the U.S. Olympic Committee. 

She added: “Coming into this meet, I wanted to see where I was after London. I had some really great races that I’m really proud of…I’m really excited about the next year, and the year after that, and all the years following those.”

Tokyo 2020 Celebrates Japanese Swimmers

In total, Japan won six medals in Barcelona. Members from the Tokyo 2020 delegation celebrated with Japanese swimmers following the championships’ closing ceremony. 
 

The Japanese swimming team shows its support for Tokyo 2020. (Tokyo 2020)


"My dream is for Tokyo to be the host of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, for the benefit of the city and also for the sake of international sport," said Kosuke Hagino. He won two silver medals. 

Hagino added: "I love to swim, and sport has changed my life. There is a real passion for sport among Japanese people, and I think this makes Tokyo the best place for the Games seven years from now.”

Coates ‘Encouraged’ by Barcelona Results

Swimmers from Australia earned 13 medals overall. 12 of those medals were earned by London 2012 Olympians. 

Australian swimmer Alicia Coutts earned multiple medals at the aquatics championships. (Getty Images)


Athletes winning multiple medals included Alicia Coutts (five silver), Cate Campbell (one gold and three silver medals), Christian Sprenger (one gold and two silver medals), James Magnussen (one gold and one silver medal), and Emily Seebohm (two silver medals).

Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said in a statement, “There were very encouraging signs coming out of Barcelona and I congratulate all members of the Team. 

“It is very pleasing to note the increase in medals from the London Games from ten to twelve including the two extra gold medals.”

Australia's performance in the pool during the London Games was widely seen as a disappointment for the traditional swimming power. 

“Swimming For All” Program

While in Barcelona, FINA also met with representatives from the United Nations, the UN Children’s Fund, the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the IOC to develop a worldwide “Swimming for All” program.

The program aims to prevent and reduce the number of global casualties due to drowning. The initiative also promotes more physical activity amongst youngsters. 

FINA promotes swimming to "save lives" around the world. (Getty Images)


“By promoting swimming, we are not only saving lives, but we are also giving a better life to many millions of people,” FINA President Maglione said in a statement.

He added: “Swimming in particular, has an essential value and importance, and can be practiced at any age and at by everyone. 

“But FINA cannot act alone. We need a multidisciplinary approach and that’s why we have invited these prestigious worldwide organizations to help us in this important cause.”

Kazan, Russia will stage FINA’s next World Aquatics Championships in 2015.

Written by Nicole Bennett.

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