Designed with the stars of swimming in mind, FINA has been extremely satisfied by the positive reactions of champions invited to take part in the inaugural leg of the FINA Champions Swim Series in Guangzhou, China.
Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) said: “Thanks FINA for inviting me to compete in the first leg of the Series. It is very interesting that swimming has changed a lot this year. A lot of new competitions are coming up. I managed to win two events today. It is great to be here and to challenge the best swimmers before the World Championships in Gwangju, Korea, in July.”
“It was great to have the opportunity to compete with the best swimmers more often. Usually we only compete against each other at the World Championships and the Olympic Games. It is very important for the sport of swimming.”
KatinkaHosszu (HUN) echoed the founder of the modern Olympic Games with her emphasis on the importance of participation. Hosszu was one of the swimmers who took part in the Mixed 4×100 Medley Relay with teams drawn at random just before the race, another innovation: “The meaning of the competition is not the victory or results, but the race itself. I competed a lot and I just tried my best. And this new competition may push more swimmers, more stimulus and have more fans, and make swimming more popular and generate more revenue for the sport and the swimmers. The entertainment part of the competition was so good!”
The FINA Champions Swim Series combined innovations in both sports presentation and format, including a pre-competition draw to decide the relay teams, to deliver a fresh and stimulating experience for spectators, fans and athletes alike: “I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere with the audience and the breath-taking race,” said Fu Yuanhui (CHN).
Her comments were echoed by Ben Proud (GBR): “I think FINA, the swimmers and the audience together can make a successful Champions Swim Series.”
KlimentKolesnikov (RUS) clearly enjoyed the innovations, too: “I think the fun part of this new competition was the music and the dance show before and after the events. It made both the swimmers and the fans excited and relaxed.”
Ye Shiwen (CHN) enjoyed the camaraderie among this select group of elite athletes: “This competition was a great chance to communicate with the best swimmers in the world.”
While Felipe Lima (BRA) can’t wait for more: “I hope I can swim faster in the next leg and wish this kind of competitions were more available.”