Swimming at the World Aquatics Championships

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Michael Phelps—pictured here (right) at the 2005 World Championships—won 26 World Championships gold medals – more than any other athlete.

The aquatics discipline of swimming has been the core component of every edition of the FINA World Aquatics Championships since its introduction in 1973. In 1991, open water swimming events were introduced to the program of the World Championships.

Championships[edit]

Year Date Edition Location Events (men/women/mixed) Winner of the medal table Second in the medal table Third in the medal table
Long course Open water
1973 31 August – 9 September 1 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Belgrade, Yugoslavia 15 / 14 / 0 0 / 0 / 0  East Germany  United States  Australia
1975 19–27 July 2 Colombia Cali, Colombia 15 / 14 / 0 0 / 0 / 0  United States  East Germany  Hungary
1978 20–28 August 3 West Germany West Berlin, West Germany 15 / 14 / 0 0 / 0 / 0  United States  Soviet Union  Australia
1982 29 July – 8 August 4 Ecuador Guayaquil, Ecuador 15 / 14 / 0 0 / 0 / 0  East Germany  United States  Soviet Union
1986 13–23 August 5 Spain Madrid, Spain 16 / 16 / 0 0 / 0 / 0  East Germany (3)  United States  West Germany
1991 3–13 January 6 Australia Perth, Australia 16 / 16 / 0 1 / 1 / 0  United States  Hungary  Germany
1994 1–11 September 7 Italy Rome, Italy 16 / 16 / 0 1 / 1 / 0  China  Australia  United States
1998 8–17 January 8 Australia Perth, Australia 16 / 16 / 0 2 / 2 / 2  United States  Australia  China
2001 16–29 July 9 Japan Fukuoka, Japan 20 / 20 / 0 3 / 3 / 0  Australia  United States (4)  Italy
2003 12–27 July 10 Spain Barcelona, Spain 20 / 20 / 0 3 / 3 / 0  United States  Australia  Russia
2005 16–31 July 11 Canada Montreal, Canada 20 / 20 / 0 3 / 3 / 0  United States  Australia  Germany (3)
2007 18 March – 1 April 12 Australia Melbourne, Australia 20 / 20 / 0 3 / 3 / 0  United States  Australia  Russia (2)
2009 17 July – 2 August 13 Italy Rome, Italy 20 / 20 / 0 3 / 3 / 0  United States  Germany  Australia
2011 16–31 July 14 China Shanghai, China 20 / 20 / 0 3 / 3 / 1  United States  China  Brazil
2013 19 July – 4 August 15 Spain Barcelona, Spain 20 / 20 / 0 3 / 3 / 1  United States  China (2)  France
2015 24 July – 9 August 16 Russia Kazan, Russia 20 / 20 / 2 3 / 3 / 1  United States  Australia  China (2)
2017 14–30 July 17 Hungary Budapest, Hungary 20 / 20 / 2 3 / 3 / 1  United States  France  Great Britain
2019 12–28 July 18 South Korea Gwangju, South Korea 20 / 20 / 2 3 / 3 / 1  United States  Australia (7)  Hungary (2)
2022 18 June – 3 July 19 Hungary Budapest, Hungary 20 / 20 / 2 3 / 3 / 1  United States (14)  Italy  Australia (4)

Future championships[edit]

Year Date Edition Location
2023 14–30 July 20 Japan Fukuoka, Japan
2024 January 21 Qatar Doha, Qatar
2025 TBA 22 Russia Kazan, Russia

Events[edit]

The number of events competed for at each edition of the championships has grown steadily through the years. In 1973, 29 events were swum: 15 for men and 14 for women, all in the pool. Since 2015, the combined number of events for men and women including pool and open water events has been 49, a drastic increase compared to the first edition. Historically, 50 different events have been held across the 17 editions of the championships.

Long course[edit]

Long course events have been competed since the inaugural edition of the championships in 1973. The youngest male swimmer to participate in the World Swimming Championships was Ahnt Khaung Htut[1] from Myanmar, who was 12 years old in 2015. He took part at the 100m backstroke and 100m breaststroke events. The youngest female swimmer to participate in the World Swimming Championships was 10-year-old Alzain Tareq[2] from Bahrain in 2015. She participated at the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle events.

Men's events[edit]

Edition 1973 1975 1978 1982 1986 1991 1994 1998 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 2017 2019 2022
Freestyle 50 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
100 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
200 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
400 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
800 m X X X X X X X X X X X
1500 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Backstroke 50 m X X X X X X X X X X X
100 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
200 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Breaststroke 50 m X X X X X X X X X X X
100 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
200 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Butterfly 50 m X X X X X X X X X X X
100 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
200 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Individual
medley
200 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
400 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Relays 4×100 m freestyle X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
4×200 m freestyle X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
4×100 m medley X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Number of events 15 15 15 15 16 16 16 16 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

Women's events[edit]

Edition 1973 1975 1978 1982 1986 1991 1994 1998 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 2017 2019 2022
Freestyle 50 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
100 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
200 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
400 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
800 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
1500 m X X X X X X X X X X X
Backstroke 50 m X X X X X X X X X X X
100 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
200 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Breaststroke 50 m X X X X X X X X X X X
100 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
200 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Butterfly 50 m X X X X X X X X X X X
100 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
200 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Individual
medley
200 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
400 m X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Relays 4×100 m freestyle X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
4×200 m freestyle X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
4×100 m medley X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Number of events 14 14 14 14 16 16 16 16 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

Mixed events[edit]

Edition 2015 2017 2019 2022
Relays 4×100 m freestyle X X X X
4×100 m medley X X X X
Number of events 2 2 2 2

Open water[edit]

Open water swimming events have been competed since the sixth edition of the championships in 1991. From 2000 to 2010, FINA organized in even years specific championships for open water swimming events, the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships.

Events[edit]

Edition 1991 1994 1998 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 2017 2019 2022
Men 5 km X X X X X X X X X X X X
10 km X X X X X X X X X X X
25 km X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Women 5 km X X X X X X X X X X X X
10 km X X X X X X X X X X X
25 km X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Mixed 5/6 km X X X X X X X
25 km X
Number of events 2 2 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 7

Medalists[edit]

A select number of athletes have won medals at both long course and open water events, including Oussama Mellouli from Tunisia, Hayley Lewis from Australia, Gregorio Paltrinieri from Italy, Florian Wellbrock from Germany, and Sharon van Rouwendaal from the Netherlands. For a full list of medalists covering all editions of the championships see List of World Aquatics Championships medalists in swimming (men) and List of World Aquatics Championships medalists in swimming (women). For a complete list of medal winners in open water swimming see List of World Aquatics Championships medalists in open water swimming.

All-time medal table 1973–2022[edit]

Updated after the 2022 World Aquatics Championships.

Swimming[edit]

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 United States239179133551
2 Australia859160236
3 East Germany504025115
4 China502546121
5 Hungary34192780
6 Italy23212771
7 Great Britain23194082
8 Germany21373593
9 Russia20362884
10 France18222464
11 Sweden16191651
12 Netherlands11262663
13 Canada11223770
14 Soviet Union11202152
15 South Africa1161532
16 Japan10273774
17 Brazil9121031
18 West Germany871126
19 Ukraine76720
20 Poland610925
21 Denmark48820
22 Spain46616
23 Romania41712
24 Zimbabwe3508
25 Finland3216
26 Lithuania2237
27 Belarus2114
 South Korea2114
29 Serbia2103
30 Tunisia1236
31 Norway1214
32 Costa Rica1124
33 Greece1102
34 Belgium1023
35 Suriname1001
36 New Zealand05611
37 Switzerland0516
38 Austria0336
39 Slovakia0325
40 Croatia0202
41 Bulgaria0112
 Iceland0112
 Jamaica0112
 Yugoslavia0112
45 Czech Republic0101
46 Egypt0022
 Singapore0022
48 Argentina0011
 Puerto Rico0011
 Trinidad and Tobago0011
 Venezuela0011
Totals (51 entries)6957006932088
  • Record by number of gold medals –  United States (23 gold medals, 1978)
  • Record by number of total medals –  United States (49 medals in total, 2022)

Open water swimming[edit]

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 Germany15171345
2 Russia1211932
3 Italy1191838
4 United States109726
5 Brazil83718
6 France68317
7 Netherlands56516
8 Australia36514
9 Greece2439
10 Great Britain2114
11 Hungary1326
12 Spain1214
13 Canada1113
14 Bulgaria1034
15 South Africa1012
 Tunisia1012
17 China1001
 Switzerland1001
19 Belgium0101
 Czech Republic0101
 Ecuador0101
22 Argentina0011
 Egypt0011
 Ukraine0011
Totals (24 entries)828383248

Multiple medalists[edit]

Boldface denotes active swimmers and highest medal count among all swimmers (including these who not included in these tables) per type.

All events[edit]

Rank Swimmer Country Gender From To Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Michael Phelps  United States M 2001 2011 ** 26 ** 6 1 ** 33 **
2 Katie Ledecky  United States F 2013 2022 19 3 22
3 Ryan Lochte  United States M 2005 2015 * 18 * 5 * 4 * ** 27 **
4 Caeleb Dressel  United States M 2017 2022 15 2 17
5 Simone Manuel  United States F 2013 2019 * 11 * 3 2 * 16 *
6 Missy Franklin  United States F 2011 2015 11 2 3 16
Sun Yang  China M 2009 2019 11 2 3 16
8 Ian Thorpe  Australia M 1998 2003 11 1 1 13
9 Sarah Sjöström  Sweden F 2009 2022 10 7 3 20
10 Grant Hackett  Australia M 1998 2015 10 6 * 3 * * 19 *

* including one medal in the relay event in which this swimmer participated in the heats only
** including two medals in the relay events in which this swimmer participated in the heats only

Individual events[edit]

Rank Swimmer Country Gender From To Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Michael Phelps  United States M 2001 2011 15 5 20
2 Katie Ledecky  United States F 2013 2022 14 2 16
3 Sun Yang  China M 2009 2019 11 2 1 14
4 Sarah Sjöström  Sweden F 2009 2022 10 6 3 19
5 Ryan Lochte  United States M 2005 2015 10 3 3 16
6 Katinka Hosszú  Hungary F 2009 2019 9 1 5 15
7 Caeleb Dressel  United States M 2017 2022 8 8
8 Grant Hackett  Australia M 1998 2007 7 6 1 14
9 Ana Marcela Cunha  Brazil F 2011 2022 7 1 5 13
10 Aaron Peirsol  United States M 2001 2009 7 1 8

World records[edit]

The World Championships have often been the occasion at which elite swimmers reach the peak of their season, and hence numerous world records are often broken.

Edition Men Women Mixed Total
1973 7 10 Not held 17
1975 1 4 Not held 5
1978 4 10 Not held 14
1982 4 3 Not held 7
1986 6 Not held 6
1991 7 Not held 7
1994 3 7 Not held 10
1998 Not held 0
2001 8 Not held 8
2003 12 2 Not held 14
2005 5 4 Not held 9
2007 7 8 Not held 15
2009 17 26 Not held 43
2011 2 Not held 2
2013 6 Not held 6
2015 2 6 3 11
2017 2 6 3 11
2019 5 4 1 10
2022 2 1 3

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Matt Roebuck (4 August 2015). "Myanmar centre-stage at World Championships". Myanmar Times. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  2. ^ "10-Year-Old Alzain Tareq Enjoying World Championship Experience". Swimming World Magazine. 8 August 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2015.

External links[edit]