100 days before FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) and 100 teams already on the starting blocks

FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)

September 5, 2010, Dubai – With 100 days to go before the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) there are already 100 teams from all over the world on the starting blocks and ready for action.

From the swimming super powers of the USA and Australia through to the Republic of Palau, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, the world will be descending on Dubai for five days of world-class, high-octane racing from 15-19 December.

And with entries from national swimming federations remaining open until after the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Eindhoven which end on 28 November, that number is sure to rise still further as Dubai 2010 draws closer.

It is already likely the number of athletes competing at the new, state-of-the-art Dubai Sports Complex will exceed the previous record mark of 623 set in Manchester two years ago.

And among the big names set to race in Dubai are Australia’s multiple Olympic medallists Geoff Huegill, Leisel Jones and Felicity Galvez.

“Our mission is to deliver an event of excellence and the news that so many national swimming federations and athletes are set to come to Dubai is great news in our quest to achieve our aim,” said Mr Obaid Al Shamsi, the Championships Director.

“The Dubai Sports Complex will be a fantastic venue for the swimmers to race in, tickets will go on sale at the end of this month and it is truly exciting to think we are now only 100 days away from realising our vision of a truly global swimming championships here in the Middle East.”

Many national federations will only confirm the names of their swimmers closer to the cut-off date but Swimming Australia has already named its squad with Huegill, Jones and Galvez all included.

Huegill is a multiple Olympic, World, Pan-Pacific and Commonwealth Games medallist and a star who won gold in the 50m and 100m butterfly in the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) when it was held in Moscow in 2002.

Now 31, Huegill retired in 2004 but is well and truly on the comeback trail and at last month’s Pan-Pacific Championships in Irvine, California he clocked 52.21 in the 100m butterfly, his second fastest time ever and faster than the time he swam to win a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Breaststroker Jones, who had her 25th birthday on 30 August, is the winner of three Olympic gold medals, seven more in the FINA World Swimming Championships (50m), another seven in the Commonwealth Games, plus one in the 2002 Pan-Pacific Championships.

Galvez, also 25, is a former world record holder in the 50m and 100m butterfly, a double Olympic gold medallist in Beijing two years ago and also the winner of multiple gold medals in FINA World Swimming Championships over both the long and short courses. A short course specialist renowned for her lightning-fast starts and turns, she is sure to be one to watch once the action gets underway.

Obaid Ahmed Obaid Al Jasimi, a two-time Olympic swimmer for the United Arab Emirates at Athens and Beijing and set to captain his country at December’s event, said he was delighted at the prospect of big names coming to Dubai and cannot wait for the Championships to begin.

“It is excellent that we are just 100 days away from the Championships and I want the time to pass very quickly now,” he said. “I am sure there are many people like me who are excited at the prospect of so many big swimmers coming to Dubai and I am looking forward to more big names being added to the list so we can get a really powerful competition here,” he added.

The FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) were first held in Palma de Mallorca in Spain in 1993 and since then they have taken place all over the world, including Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai, every alternate year – apart from 1999 and 2000 when they took place two years in a row.

The Championships have been graced by some of the finest athletes in the history of the sport, including Michael Phelps of the USA, Australia’s Ian Thorpe, Jenny Thompson, also of the USA, and Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry.