For the first time in Olympic competition, men and women raced side-by-side in the pool in the Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. A competition called “one of the most exciting races in swimming” by Great Britain’s double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington, the Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay was the first of many aquatics events this past calendar year where women and men competed against and alongside each other.

The inaugural FINA Aquatics Festival, held in parallel with the 15th FINA Swimming World Championships (25m) in Abu Dhabi, saw the introduction of the first-ever Open Water Mixed Team 4x1500m Relay.

The FINA Aquatics Festival also saw the debut of the FINA Diving Team Exhibition, which featured a Mixed Team event, with male and female athletes alternating dives from 3m springboard and 10m platform.

“2021 was an important year for FINA with regards to its efforts to promote gender equity throughout all the aquatics disciplines. The inaugural Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay in Tokyo and the first-ever mixed events at the FINA Aquatics Festival in Abu Dhabi were incredibly exciting for both athletes and spectators. The FINA Reform Committee recommendations will help drive forward progress in the key area of gender equity,” said FINA Athletes' Committee Chair Penny Heyns.

Ensuring aquatics sports promote both men’s and women’s disciplines equally has been a consistent part of FINA’s strategy. The approval of the recommendations put forward by the FINA Reform Committee will strengthen FINA’s efforts towards gender equality and help ensure greater diversity and gender equity at all levels of aquatics. 

FINA salutes all those contributing to the advancing opportunities for women in and through sport. From those with a role behind the scenes to playing an integral part on the sidelines to those in the water, March 8th is acknowledging what you do to inspire today’s and tomorrow’s generation through sport.