The “Fédération Internationale de Natation” (FINA) was founded in London July 19, 1908 during the Olympic Games in London (GBR). Eight national federations were responsible for the formation of FINA: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary and Sweden. 

 

The states aims of the Federation were:

1.    to establish unified rules for swimming, diving and water polo, applicable at Olympic Games and other international competitions; 

2.    to verify world records and establish an official updated world records list; 

3.    to manage swimming competitions at the Olympic Games.

In January 2018, under the presidency of Dr. Julio C. Maglione, FINA comprises 209 National Member Federations in the five continents. The principal objectives are the following:

- to promote and encourage the development of Aquatics in all possible regards throughout the world; 

- to provide fair and drug free sport; 

- to promote and encourage the development of international relations;

- to encourage participation in Aquatics disciplines at all levels throughout the world regardless of age, gender or race; 

- to adopt necessary uniform rules and regulations and to hold competitions in Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, Synchronised Swimming, High Diving and Masters; 

- to promote and organise World Championships and other FINA competitions; 

- to encourage the increase of facilities for Aquatics’ disciplines throughout the world with the support of other interested parties, and

- to carry out such other activities as may be desirable to promote the sport.

 

Today, FINA controls the development of the following aquatic events:

- Swimming: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, medley, relays, mixed relays

- Diving: springboard (1m, 3m), platform (10m), synchronised diving (3m and 10m), mixed and team events

- High Diving: men (27m) and women (20m)

- Water polo: men and women

- Synchronised swimming: solo, duet, mixed duet, team and free combination 

- Open water swimming: 5km, 10km, 25km, team event 

FINA and its aquatic disciplines are also a pillar of the Olympic Movement and give a decisive contribution to the success of the Games. Swimming is part of the Olympic programme since 1896, Water Polo became the first team sport in the Games in 1900, and Diving made its appearance in 1904. Eighty years later, in 1984, Synchronised Swimming joined the Olympic “club”, while Marathon Swimming (10km race for men and women) is included in the Olympic programme since 2008.

 

FINA’s daily activities can be summarised as follows:

-    Drive global awareness on the importance of physical activity through attractiveness of Aquatic disciplines;

-    Define rules for the harmonious worldwide development of Swimming, Water Polo, Diving, High Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Open Water Swimming and Masters;

-    Ensure application of principles for fair play and drug-free sport;

-    Reinforce the co-operation and mutual support with FINA’s National Member Federations in the five continents;

-    Encourage national authorities to make Swimming part of their educational strategy, through a worldwide "Swimming for All, Swimming for Life" programme;

-    Organise World Championships and other FINA competitions to promote further the image of aquatic disciplines;

-    Assure a long-term calendar for its main competitions and strengthen the impact of FINA’s annual events;

-    Provide an increased visibility to the FINA World Masters Championships, by organising them in conjunction with the FINA World Championships;

-    Use present and new media opportunities and platforms to encourage people in sport;

-    Raise awareness on environmental sustainability: ‘Water is Our World’.

 

 

Milestones

1908 - Foundation of FINA in London (GBR), with 8 nations: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary and Sweden.

1912 - Women contest for the first time Aquatic events at the Stockholm (SWE) Olympic Games.

1922 - Johnny Weissmuller (USA) becomes the first man to swim the 100m free inside the minute (58.6).

1926 - Gertrude Ederle (USA) is the first woman to swim the English Channel, in a time two hours faster than the previous man’s record for this crossing.

1948 - Water Polo goes global at the London Olympics, with the participation of 18 teams from the five continents.

1956 - Butterfly swimming events make their entry at the Melbourne (AUS) Olympic Games.

1957 - World Records are only valid in metric measurements.

1964 - Dawn Fraser (AUS) completes her unprecedented “hat-trick” at the Tokyo Games: third consecutive Olympic victory in the 100m free.

1968 - Electronic timing makes its appearance at the Mexico City Olympics.

1972 - Mark Spitz (USA) is the first athlete ever to win seven gold medals (in Swimming) at one edition of the Olympics – in Munich (GER). All his victories were accompanied by World Records!

1973 - First FINA World Championships in Belgrade (YUG). Swimming, Water Polo, Diving and Synchronised Swimming are represented (Open Water Swimming is added to the programme in 1991)

1980 - Vladimir Salnikov (URS) is the first swimmer to break the 15-minute limit in the 1500m free: he clocks 14:58.27 for his Olympic title in Moscow.

1984 - Entry of Synchronised Swimming in the Olympic programme for the Los Angeles Games.

1986 - Opening of the first FINA permanent office in Lausanne (SUI).

1988 - Greg Louganis (USA) calls it a day after his fifth Olympic medal in a superb Diving career. He was also five times on a FINA World Championships’ podium.

1991 - Recognition of World Records in 25m-pools.

1992 - Barcelona (ESP) is the last Olympics of a great Swimming champion: Matt Biondi (USA) – 11 medals at the Games, and also 11 awards at FINA World Championships.

1993 - First edition of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Palma de Mallorca (ESP).

1996 - By many considered the best Water Polo player in history, Manuel Estiarte (ESP) wins gold at the Atlanta Games. He was present at six Olympics (1980-2000)!

2000 - Women’s Water Polo and Synchronised Diving enter the Olympic programme in Sydney (AUS).

2004 - Alexander Popov (RUS) leaves the pools following a successful career that includes nine Olympic medals and 11 awards at FINA World Championships.

2005 - The IOC confirms the inclusion of Marathon Swimming (10km) in the Olympic programme, from the 2008 Games in Beijing (CHN).

2008 - Michael Phelps (USA) surpasses Mark Spitz and becomes the only athlete in history to win eight gold medals at one edition of the Games, in Beijing (CHN). Four years later, at the conclusion of the London Games, he announces the end of his swimming career, with a total of 22 Olympic awards, including 18 gold – the best ever in Olympic history!

2010 - FINA organises the first edition of the FINA World Aquatics Convention in Punta del Este (URU).

2011 - Guo Jingjing (CHN) closes her brilliant Diving career, after six Olympic and 11 World medals. She remains the best female diver in history!

2012 - After the second edition in 2012 in Moscow (RUS), as a stand-alone event, the Convention is organised, from 2014 onwards, in conjunction with the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m).

2013 - High Diving is included for the first time in the programme of the FINA World Championships – in Barcelona (ESP).

2014 - Doha (QAT) receives the 12th edition of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), in a great Aquatic Festival, comprising also the FINA World Aquatics Convention, the FINA Swimming Coaches Golden Clinic, a FINA Extraordinary Congress, a "Soirée des Etolies" gala to honour the best athletes of the year, and a Swimming Youth Programme.

2015 - From July 24 to August 16, Kazan (RUS) staged for the first time in FINA's history, the FINA World Championships, immediately followed by the FINA World Masters Championships. At the elite competition, mixed events were held for the first time in Swimming, Diving and Synchronised Swimming.