Posted on October 24, 2014

With just over one month to go until the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), already Qatar is setting records as an unprecedented 1,300 swimmers and more than 500 team officials have registered their interest in competing at Hamad Aquatic Centre.

As of today, 174 countries will be represented at this year’s event, held from December 3-7, 2014. Whilst athletes are still undergoing the formal approval process in order to confirm their place at swimming’s showpiece event, all signs point towards Qatar being set to attract more swimmers to a FINA World Swimming Championship (25m) than ever before. At the 11th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Istanbul, 2012, 958 swimmers competed. 

Speaking ahead of the 12th FINA Swimming World Championships (25m), President of Qatar Swimming Association and CEO of Doha 2014 Khaleel Al Jabir, said: "The excitement is building ahead of the World Championships here in December. We were delighted with the success of the FINA Swimming World Cup in August and clearly Doha has built a strong reputation as a world-class host in the swimming world, with a record number of athletes registered to compete here in December. We look forward to another spectacular event." In December, the world’s best swimmers will once again take to the blocks at Hamad Aquatic Centre to compete in 46 medal events. Spectators can expect to witness exhilarating performances in the pool which has already this year seen three World Records broken thanks to the efforts of Hungary’s Iron Lady, Katinka Hosszu. The defending FINA World Cup champion set new records in the 200m and 400m Individual Medleys at the FINA Mastbank Swimming World Cup – Doha in August. 

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Her compatriot, Daniel Gyurta, gold medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, also wrote himself into the history books in Doha this summer breaking a World Cup record in his signature 200m breaststroke. One of the 1,300 athletes hoping to compete in the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships in December, he believes his experiences at Hamad Aquatic Centre last month will give him an edge. "I think I am very lucky that I was able to compete at Hamad Aquatic Centre before the World Championships. It has given me feedback about what the swimming is like there, and what kind of times can be fulfilled –based on my performance at the World Cup it looks positive for me," he said.

Previous victors at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) include US Olympic Gold Medalist Ryan Lochte, who took home six gold medals at the last Championships in 2012. Olympic champion, Chad Le Clos (RSA), and multiple World Record holder, Katinka Hosszu (HUN), are among the top those athletes already looking forward to a return to Doha. In addition, Mireia Belmonte (ESP), Marieke D’Cruz (AUS), Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS) and other key athletes from Germany, Italy, Russia, China, Japan and the Netherlands are expected to be bringing their best to the competition.

Directly ahead of the World Championships, Doha will host the 3rd FINA Aquatics Convention putting itself at the centre of the sport’s development. The convention will run from November 29 – December 1 and provides a platform for industry leaders and decision makers to facilitate and support sustainable growth of aquatic sports throughout the world. Taking place at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Doha, the conference includes the FINA Extraordinary Congress, a session to determine future innovations and rule changes in the sport, and the 2nd FINA Gold Swimming Coaches Clinic, a knowledge-sharing opportunity for top-level coaches.

Doha is also showing its commitment to the future of swimming through the Youth Programme, a five day event where nearly 400 elite young swimmers will be given the opportunity to experience the FINA Swimming World Championships first hand, gaining exposure to major international events and familiarise themselves with competition week format. Organised by Qatar Olympic Committee and FINA, the Youth Programme will bring together the swimmers of tomorrow with the talent and coaches of today.