The “Fédération Internationale de Natation” (FINA) was founded in London July 19, 1908 during the Olympic Games in London (GBR). Eight national federations were responsible for the formation of FINA: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary and Sweden.
The states aims of the Federation were:
1. to establish unified rules for swimming, diving and water polo, applicable at Olympic Games and other international competitions;
2. to verify world records and establish an official updated world records list;
3. to manage swimming competitions at the Olympic Games.
In September 2015, under the presidency of Dr. Julio C. Maglione, FINA comprises 207 National Member Federations in the five continents. The principal objectives are the following:
- to promote and encourage the development of Aquatics in all possible regards throughout the world;
- to provide fair and drug free sport;
- to promote and encourage the development of international relations;
- to encourage participation in Aquatics disciplines at all levels throughout the world regardless of age, gender or race;
- to adopt necessary uniform rules and regulations and to hold competitions in Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, Synchronised Swimming, High Diving and Masters;
- to promote and organise World Championships and other FINA competitions;
- to encourage the increase of facilities for Aquatics’ disciplines throughout the world with the support of other interested parties, and
- to carry out such other activities as may be desirable to promote the sport.
Today, FINA controls the development of the following aquatic events:
- Swimming: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, medley, relays, mixed relays
- Diving: springboard (1m, 3m), platform (10m), synchronised diving (3m and 10m), mixed and team events
- High Diving: men (27m) and women (20m)
- Water polo: men and women
- Synchronised swimming: solo, duet, mixed duet, team and free combination
- Open water swimming: 5km, 10km, 25km, team event
Since 1973, FINA organises World Championships with on the programme swimming, diving, high diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and open water swimming. The first 16 editions took place in Belgrade (YUG, 1973), Cali (COL, 1975), Berlin (GER, 1978), Guayaquil (ECU, 1982), Madrid (ESP, 1986), Perth (AUS, 1991), Rome (ITA, 1994), Perth (AUS, 1998), Fukuoka (JPN, 2001), Barcelona (ESP, 2003), Montreal (CAN, 2005), Melbourne (AUS, 2007), Rome (ITA, 2009), Shanghai (CHN, 2011), Barcelona (ESP, 2013) and Kazan (RUS, 2015). The next editions will take place in Budapest (HUN, 2017) and Gwangju (KOR, 2019).
Milestones in the FINA history include the introduction of: World Cups in swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming (1979), World Masters Championships (1986), World Swimming Championships in 25m-pool (every two years since 1993), Marathon Swimming World Cup (1994), Diving Grand Prix (1995) and the Super Final of the Diving Grand Prix (1998), World Open Water Swimming Championships (2000), Water Polo World Leagues for men (2002) and for women (2004), World Junior Swimming Championships (2006), Synchronised Swimming World Trophy (2006), Diving World Series (2007), World Water Polo Development Trophy (2007), 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup (2007), Open Water Swimming Grand Prix (2007), World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships (2012) and High Diving World Cup (2014).
FINA and its aquatic disciplines are also a pillar of the Olympic Movement and give a decisive contribution to the success of the Games. Swimming is part of the Olympic programme since 1896, Water Polo became the first team sport in the Games in 1900, and Diving made its appearance in 1904. Eighty years later, in 1984, Synchronised Swimming joined the Olympic “club”, while Marathon Swimming (10km race for men and women) is included in the Olympic programme since 2008.
FINA’s daily activities can be summarised as follows:
- Drive global awareness on the importance of physical activity through attractiveness of Aquatic disciplines;
- Define rules for the harmonious worldwide development of Swimming, Water Polo, Diving, High Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Open Water Swimming and Masters;
- Ensure application of principles for fair play and drug-free sport;
- Reinforce the co-operation and mutual support with FINA’s National Member Federations in the five continents;
- Encourage national authorities to make Swimming part of their educational strategy, through a worldwide "Swimming for All, Swimming for Life" programme;
- Organise World Championships and other FINA competitions to promote further the image of aquatic disciplines;
- Assure a long-term calendar for its main competitions and strengthen the impact of FINA’s annual events;
- Provide an increased visibility to the FINA World Masters Championships, by organising them in conjunction with the FINA World Championships;
- Use present and new media opportunities and platforms to encourage people in sport;
- Raise awareness on environmental sustainability: ‘Water is Our World’.