LAUSANNE (Switzerland) — With the turn of the calendar now well into 2022, it’s time to check out what’s to come for aquatics athletes and fans on the international events scene. And, oh man, it’s a doozy. 

 

From the 19th FINA World Championships making their return to Fukuoka (JPN) after 21 years away to Kazan (RUS) hosting the short course world champs to a mouth-watering slate of events on the World Series circuit to a bevvy of age-group world champs, 2022 has epic aquatic potential written all over it. 

 

Storylines abound the Water Polo pool deck in 2022

 

From the Serbian men’s team in a rebuilding mode after taking both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 golds, to reigning 2019 world champs Italy falling flat to seventh at the last summer’s Olympics, to Greece’s stirring run on the Tokyo final, storylines abound in the 2022 season of men’s Water Polo. 

 

With much of the intrigue centred around the European teams, it is only fitting that the FINA Water Polo World League kicks off Tuesday (January 18th) with the European qualifiers. Aforementioned Serbia and Italy make for a crucial game during the first leg as 12 games run from January 18th to March 8th.  

 

The FINA Men’s Water Polo World League’s most must-see comes during the Super Final, slated to take place from 23-29 July in Strasbourg, France. With the world league’s founding in 2002, Serbia will be looking for its eleventh Super Final title.  

One week after the men’s season kicks off, the Women’s Water Polo World League gets underway with the European qualifiers.   

 

Look for the top European women’s teams to be pushed from all corners of the globe as Australia fields a competitive team and the United States comes into 2022 riding a never-before-seen level of excellence in women’s water polo. Including taking the Tokyo Olympic final, 14-5 over the European champions Spain, the Americans will be vying for their seventh FINA World Championship title as well this May in Fukuoka. 

 

Pulling off the hattrick of adding this year’s Super Final crown in Strasbourg would leave little doubt that this collection of USA women’s water polo team is in the midst of one of the games’ greatest runs of sustained excellence.  

 

Don’t just shoehorn in the American women for their 15th title, yet as the 2021 Super Final runners-up, Hungary knows what it takes to edge out the defending champs, winning 10-9 in group play at the Tokyo Olympics. 

 

 

Where synchronicity reigns | FINA Artistic Swimming World Series 2022

 

The 2022 FINA Artistic Swimming World Series circuit will feature five meets, with four regular legs and a Super Final as the series finale. 

 

Recognising that the vast majority of countries around the world is still dealing heavily with the Covid-19 pandemic, the series kicks off with Canada and the USA jointly hosting a virtual event.

 

Federations will film the performance routines of their team and then send these videos to a full panel of international judges. From 19-20 March, these performances will be judged and webcast with sports presentation and commentary added to the final product. Tune back in then to FINA.org and see how the show all comes together! 

 

Two can’t miss stops follow the virtual leg. First comes Paris as the upcoming Summer Olympics host starts dialling in their event operations and sport presentation skills for the 2024 Games. From here, the crème de la crème of Artistic Swimming head off to the Russian water sports hub of Kazan. 

Just as the Volga and Kazanka rivers converge in Kazan, so, too, do the Artistic Swimming and Diving World Series circuits. From April 8-10, Kazan city whets its appetite with these two aquatics disciplines as the short course world champs come to town later in the year. 

 

From the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, the artistic athletes will have one last leg, a virtual one hosted by Australia slated for 7-8 May in the week proceeding the 19th FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. 

 

Divers take flight in Canada as World Series season caps off in China

 

After having to find alternative ways to stage last season’s circuit, 2021 concluded in the grandest of fashion with diving taking place in the ocean for the first time ever during the inaugural FINA Aquatics Festival in Abu Dhabi. 

 

Montreal makes for a fitting start to the FINA Diving World Series as Canadian divers dominated in last year’s virtual opener, taking home the top honours in both the men’s and women’s 3m Springboard as well as both the men’s and women’s 10m Platform events. 

 

From the Quebec capital and the aforementioned cluster event in Kazan, the diving elite will head from 19th FINA World Championships for the final two World Series stops in China; first in Wuhan from 27-29 May and then in Zhuhai from 3-5 June. 

 

While China is a regular FINA Diving World Series stop - especially Beijing, where nine consecutive events were held from 2011-2019 - Wuhan and Zhuhai are two event host debutants for 2022. 

 

FINA World Championships return to familiar Fukuoka for 19th event edition

 

With Fukuoka hosting the FINA World Championships for the second time, this oceanside city is ready for the “big one” of 2022. For 19 days, fans and athletes – the world’s elite as well as the top masters' athletes - will be treated to the pinnacle of aquatics sport. With the Tokyo 2020 Games taking place last summer, this is also the starting point for the new Olympic “quad” leading up to Paris. 

Expect to see some familiar names and countries look to cement their sporting legacies as the youngsters in swimming, artistic swimming, open water, diving, high diving and water polo look to leave their mark on the international stage. 

 

Legendary performances and parity in the nations table were two of the storylines coming from Fukuoka during the 2001 event. Of the latter, four countries – Australia, China, Russia and the United States – all tallied at least 20 medals, topped by 26 from the American contingent. 

The then-ninth event edition is remembered with Ian Thorpe’s reign atop men’s swimming events, though a teenaged American by the name of Michael Phelps also announced himself as a medal-winning player first in Fukuoka. 

With 118 days to go to the 19th edition, Fukuoka is already starting to take on the event brand livery throughout the city. With the ever-passionate swimming nation of Japan hosting, look for rousing crowds in each of the four competition venues along the city’s oceanfront. And for those at home, expect a broadcast and digital production of the event worthy of the event’s moniker, where “water meets the future.” 

 

FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)

 

For the first time ever, FINA’s will hold both its signature World and the Short Course World Championships in the same year. Coming just a year after Abu Dhabi hosted the 15th short course worlds, expect more incredible performances like we did when Siobhan Haughey (HKG), Margaret MacNeil (CAN) and Florian Wellbrock (GER) all broke world records inside the Etihad Arena and the Swedish women equalled the all-time global mark in the 4x50m Medley Relay. 

As Kazan is a swimming hotbed - having hosted the FINA World Cup 2015 as well as FINA Swimming World Cup and the European Short Course Championships this fall… and Artistic Swimming and  Diving World Series 2002 stops... and being home to a FINA Development Centre - Kazan makes for an ideal concluding spot for the 2022 FINA competition season.