The 2011 FINA World Championships starts this weekend in Shanghai, China. With 2220 athletes participating, there will be a record numbers of countries entered at 181, up from the 172 countries that competed in Rome in 2009. Team Canada is sending 18 men and 21 women, joined by a coaching staff of 12.
The 16 days of aquatic competition includes 40 finals in Swimming (24-31 July), 10 in Diving (16-24 July), 7 in Synchronized Swimming (17-23 July), 6 in Open Water Swimming (19-23 July) and 2 in Water Polo (17-30 July).
An architectural wonder located on the east side of the Huangpu River, these World Championships are being held in the newly constructed Shanghai Oriental Sports Center (renamed from Shanghai Aquatics Sports Center). Only a test event on March 25, 2011 has gone before it. This swimming venue sensation rivals the Water Cube in Beijing (host venue of the 2008 Olympic Games) and is designed to look like a wave crashing into a beach on the shore of the lake. It is designed to make use of natural light and natural ventilation, which serves to eliminate the noxious lights and chlorine odors that so often are present in most natatoriums around the world. There is an indoor arena seating 18,000 people, an indoor swimming pool seating 5,000, and an outdoor swimming pool that seats 5,000. Of course, all the needs of the swimmers are being met to produce outstanding performances, but the fans and media have not been left out either. An under-seat air conditioning system will keep the fans cool, while an impressive amount of dedicated space and state-of-the art technology supports the press centre.
Just one year before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, these FINA World Championships, will be the biggest showdown between the world’s best swimmers, and therefore one of the most vital competitions in the swimming calendar.
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