FINA or Fédération Internationale de Natation (trans: International Swimming Federation) is the International Federation (IF) recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for administering international competition in Aquatics. It is one of several IFs which administer a given sport/discipline for the IOC and/or international community. It is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
At the January 2010 FINA Bureau meeting, Tonga became the 202nd national federation of FINA. Members are grouped by continent, and there are 5 continental associations of which they can choose to be a member:
The FINA membership meets every four years, usually coinciding with the World Championships. There are two types of normal or "ordinary" congress: General and Technical. FINA’s highest authority is the General Congress. Any technical issues concerning FINA’s five aquatic disciplines are decided by the Technical Congress. Each Congress has two voting members from each Member federation, plus the following non-voting members: the 22 members of the Bureau, the Honorary Life President, and all Honorary Members. The Technical Congress has the following additional non-voting members: all members from the respective Technical Committees. "Extraordinary" Congress are also called from time to time, to deal with a specific topic or area of concern (e.g., an Extraordinary Congress was held with the 2009 World Championships to review the Masters swimming rules; there was a General Congress at the 2009 Worlds). All Congress meetings are chaired by FINA's president.
Between Congress meetings of the entire membership, a smaller 22-member representative board, called the FINA Bureau, meets to act in a timely manner on items which cannot wait until the entire body can meet. It is the Bureau that elects the FINA Executive Officers.
Various committees and commission also help with the oversight of individual disciplines (e.g. the Technical Open Water Swimming Committee helps with open water), or topic-related issues (e.g. the FINA Doping Panel).
The biggest FINA event is the biennial World Championships, currently held every odd year. It features competitions in all five aquatic disciplines. Prior to 2000, the event was held every 4 years, in the even year between (Summer) Olympic Games.
Grand Prix: Annual race/competition series of multiple events in open water (races over 10-kilometers).
Junior Worlds: A world-level championships restricted to a younger age population (typically under-18, though can vary by discipline/gender). Held in swimming, water polo, diving, and synchronized swimming. Open Water is to begin in 2012.
^FINA Media Kit for the 2010 FINA World Aquatics Convention; published by FINA on 2010-02-22; retrieved 2010-02-25. (The listing and structure of the "Events" section is based on the event listing in this packet.)