The FINA World Aquatics Championships – a qualifier for the Olympics – will be held July 24 through Aug. 9 in Kazan, Russia for the first time.
The championships consist of diving (July 24-Aug. 2), open water and synchronized swimming (both July 25 through Aug. 1), water polo (July 26 through Aug. 8) and, my favorite, swimming (Aug. 2 through 9).
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Worlds. The opening scene in my debut novel “Water Music” takes place there, and it’s often an indicator of what the swimmers will do at the Olympics, though not always. I can’t help but think that Ryan Lochte – who eclipsed Michael Phelps at Worlds in Shanghai in 2011 – peaked too soon. His Olympic performance in 2012 though good didn’t match his Worlds performance while all anyone remembers is that Phelps became the most decorated Olympian to date.
Phelps won’t be at Worlds, but Lochte – who turns 31 during the event (Aug. 3) – will be. Can he defend his five gold medals? A lot has happened in four years. All I know is that Worlds was the beginning of my inspiration for “Water Music.” So let’s enjoy a blast from the past, shall we, courtesy of Swimming World Magazine – Phelpte battling it out for the 200 IM in Shanghai.
It doesn’t get much better than this.