FINA Communications Department

Following the final swimming competitions of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the 10km marathon swimming events, FINA is delighted to be able to look back at historic and record breaking competitions. Electrifying action in the pool and in the ocean resulted in standout broadcast viewership, helping to inspire the next generation of swimmers.

Michael Phelps's journey towards reinforcing his status of the most successful Olympian of all time (including even the ancient Olympics) helped draw huge audiences for U.S. rights holder NBC. The US network's prime time show on Saturday 13 August peaked at 32.7 million viewers for Phelps's final race, the 4x100 medley relay. Phelps and his teammates were watched by five times more viewers than those watching all the other major US networks combined, itself a new record.

Broadcast viewership is a key mechanism for inspiring future swimmers and Rio 2016 has been an impressive demonstration of the ability of swimmers to serve as positive role models. Team USA record breaker Katie Ledecky and Singapore's first Olympic swimming champion, Joseph Schooling, both acknowledged the part played by Phelps in encouraging them to dedicate themselves to the sport.

Michael Phelps (USA) and Joseph Schooling (SIN) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Thiago Pereira, now a hero in Brazil for pushing Phelps and Ryan Lochte hard in the 200 m individual medley is set to ensure a legacy of inspired host country swimmers. In the UK meanwhile, Great Britain's best swimming medal haul since 1908 was linked to a doubling in the number of people looking up their local swimming pool online.

"With more wonderful performances still to come in diving, water polo and synchronised swimming, FINA will keep working as hard as we can to ensure successful competitions here in Rio," said FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu. "FINA and the swimming family can already be proud of the part they played in making the first week of Rio 2016 a success at the pool, around the world in people's homes and wherever else they watched. Since last week, swimming clubs everywhere are already working hard to welcome boys and girls inspired by great champions like Phelps and Ledecky, Schooling and Hosszu. And FINA very much looks forward to welcoming those boys and girls to swimming competitions in the future, as they work to become the Olympic swimming champions of tomorrow."

Katinka Hosszu (HUN) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia