FINA is ready to celebrate its 110th birthday in style: on the day of that famous meeting in London in the Hotel Manchester in 1908, 19 July, all member federations are invited to a party in Lausanne.

 The core part will be the grand opening of the FINA Headquarters - as a warm-up, let's pick some great moments, heroes, milestones from the past 110 years.

 This is a random selection, a kind of appetiser, until the birthday cake arrives.

FINA Headquarters in Lausanne (since 2016)

1 - Phelps, the best

Michael Phelps (USA) is the best Olympian in history (across all sports), with a total of 28 swimming medals in the Games, from 2004 to 2016. These comprise: 2004 (Athens, GRE), 6 gold, 2 bronze; 2008 (Beijing, CHN), 8 gold; 2012 (London, GBR), 4 gold, 2 silver; 2016 (Rio, BRA), 5 gold, 1 silver.

2 - Long tradition of water polo

Water polo is the oldest team sport in the Olympic programme: it made its first appearance at the 1900 Games in Paris (FRA), only with the participation of club teams. Women's water polo made its debut at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. At Tokyo 2020, the men's tournament will be contested by 12 teams and the women's by 10.

3 - Aquatics showcase

The first edition of the FINA World Championships took place in 1973 in Belgrade, capital of the former Yugoslavia. Initially held every four years, it has become a biennial event since 2001. The list of hosts comprises: Belgrade (YUG, 1973), Cali (COL, 1975), Berlin (FRG, 1978), Guayaquil (ECU, 1982), Madrid (ESP, 1986), Perth (AUS, 1991 and 1998), Rome (ITA, 1994 and 2009), Fukuoka (JPN, 2001), Barcelona (ESP, 2003 and 2013), Montreal (CAN, 2005), Melbourne (AUS, 2007), Shanghai (CHN, 2011), Kazan (RUS, 2015) and Budapest (HUN, 2017).


Belgrade (SRB) World Championships 1973

4 - Inspiring mermaid

Esther Williams, a Hollywood film star in the 1940s and early 1950s, was one of the main promoters of "synchronised swimming", thanks to her performances in "aqua-musicals" on the big screen. As a discipline, synchro was a demonstration sport at the Olympics from 1952 to 1968 before its official inclusion in the programme in 1984.

5- Limit: one minute!

In men's swimming (50m pool), four men will be remembered for a remarkable feat - performing 100m in the pool in less than one minute. They were: Johnny Weissmuller (USA), 100m free in 58.6, 1922; Lance Larson (USA), 100m fly in 59.0, 1960; Thompson Mann (USA), 100m back in 59.6, 1964; and Roman Sloudnov (RUS), 100m breast in 59.97, 2001.

6 - Flying for gold

Klaus Dibiasi (ITA) is the only diver to have won three consecutive Olympic titles in the 10m platform. After claiming the silver medal at the 1964 Games in Tokyo (JPN), Dibiasi won three successive golds, in 1968 (Mexico City), 1972 (Munich) and 1976 (Montreal). He was also 10m champion in the first two editions of the FINA World Championships, in 1973 (Belgrade) and 1975 (Cali).

7 - Spitz bonanza

Before Michael Phelps's achievements, the top performer in swimming was Mark Spitz, also from the USA. After winning two golds, one silver and one bronze at the Mexico City 1968 Games, he went on to claim an unprecedented seven Olympic titles in Munich 1972, all in world record times: 100m and 200m free, 100m and 200m fly, 4x100m and 4x200m free and 4x100m medley.

Mark Spitz (USA)

8 - Chinese dominance

China's supremacy in diving is relatively recent. It all started with the first Olympic title in 1984, when Zhou Jihong won the women's 10m platform at the Los Angeles Games. Since then, Zhou has become the mentor of the Chinese diving team and is currently a FINA Bureau Member and President of China Swimming Association.

9 - The best ever?

Greg Louganis (USA) is the only male diver in Olympic history to have won two consecutive titles in both the 3m springboard and 10m platform events. After a silver in 1976 on the higher board, Louganis completed the golden double in 1984 (Los Angeles) and 1988 (Seoul). In the latter, he won the 3m title after hitting his head on the board in the preliminary round. At the FINA Worlds, Louganis also pulled off the golden double in 1982 and 1986.

Greg Louganis (USA)

10 - Club of 9

In the history of artistic swimming, only nine nations have so far claimed medals in the Olympic Games (since 1984) and FINA World Championships (from the first edition in 1973). This restricted club is composed of Canada (8 medals at the Games, 26 at the Worlds), China (5+28), France (1+7), Italy (5 at Worlds), Japan (14+44), Russia (10+57), Spain (4+37), Ukraine (10 at Worlds) and the United States (9+29).

11- True legends

In the history of water polo, there are only 11 players who have won three Olympic titles. They come from just two nations: Great Britain - Paul Radmilovic (1908/12/20), Charles Smith (1908/12/20), George Wilkinson (1900/08/12); and Hungary - Dezso Gyarmati (1952/56/64), Gyorgy Karpati (1952/56/64), Tibor Benedek (2000/04/08), Peter Biros (2000/04/08), Tamas Kasas (2000/04/08), Gergely Kiss (2000/04/08), Tamas Molnar (2000/04/08) and Zoltan Szecsi (2000/04/08).

12 - Swimming in open water

Officially, marathon swimming made its Olympic debut at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing (CHN). But did you know that the swimming competitions in first three editions of the Games were all contested in an "open water" environment - the Bay of Piraeus in Athens 1896, Seine River in Paris 1900, Forest Park Lake in St. Louis 1904?

13 - High emotions

High diving is the newest aquatic discipline in the FINA programme: it was included for the first time at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona (ESP). Two events are contested: men's 27m and women's 20m. An annual World Cup completes the FINA programme in this discipline.

14 - Butterfly beauty

Butterfly is swimming's most recent stroke. It derives from breaststroke (it was initially called "butterfly-breaststroke") and made its first Olympic appearance at the 1956 Games in Melbourne (AUS). The first champions were William Yorzyk (USA, men's 200m fly in 2:19.3) and Shelley Mann (USA, women's 100m fly in 1:11.0).

15 - Estiarte, a legend

Manuel Estiarte, from Spain, is one of the best water polo players in history. His amazing career includes participation in six Olympic Games (the first player to do so), from 1980 to 2000. He scored 127 goals in Olympic competition, achieving gold in Atlanta 1996 and silver in Barcelona 1992. He was world champion in Perth 1998 and runner-up in 1991 and 1994.

Manuel Estiarte (ESP)

16 - Steady evolution

The evolution of the diving programme has been significant since its inception at the 1904 Olympics. Four individual events - 3m springboard and 10m platform, for both men and women - prevailed until 1991, when the 1m springboard final was added at the FINA Worlds. In 1998, synchro events (3m and 10m) in both genders made their FINA debut, while 2015 marked the introduction of mixed synchro events (also in 3m and 10m) and a mixed team final.

17 - Shared gold

The solo final of the synchro competition at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona was epic: some days after the death of her boyfriend, Sylvie Fréchette (CAN) competed for the gold medal but a judge's mistake left her with silver, behind American Kristen Babb-Sprague. A year later, FINA and the IOC amended the result, awarding a joint gold medal to both athletes.

18 - An example from Tunisia

Oussama Mellouli is a legend in Tunisian (and African) sport. After becoming the first-ever medallist in swimming for his country at the Olympics (gold in the 1500m free at the 2008 Games), he continued a remarkable success story in the 10km marathon swimming event: bronze in 2008 (first and only swimmer so far to claim medals in swimming and marathon swimming in the same edition of the Games) and gold in London 2012.

19 - Fast turns

While the "modern era" of 50m world records in swimming started in 1957, 25m pool world records were first recognised by FINA in 1991. At present, the fastest time in the charts belongs to Florent Manaudou (FRA) in the men's 50m free (20.26), while the oldest global mark still valid dates back to July 2008 in the men's 800m free (Grant Hackett, AUS, 7:23.42).

20 - Lee legacy

Sammy Lee (USA), born in California to parents of Korean descent, was the diver to watch in the late 1940s/beginning of 1950s. At the 1948 Olympics in London (GBR) and the 1952 edition in Helsinki (FIN) he became the first male diver in history to win back-to-back titles in the 10m platform. Also bronze medallist in the 3m springboard in the British capital, he then became coach of future champion Greg Louganis (USA) in the 1970s.

21 - Initial supremacy

Despite their not now being in the upper echelons in water polo, did you know that Great Britain won the Olympics four times? The wins came in 1900 in Paris, with the Osborne Club of Manchester, in 1908 (London), 1912 (Stockholm) and 1920 (Antwerp). In these last three editions, the best British player was Paul Radmilovic, who also won a gold medal in 1908 in the 4x200m free relay.

22 - Networking is key

The first edition of the "FINA World Aquatics Convention" took place in 2010 in Punta del Este, Uruguay. Since then this networking opportunity between the FINA family and business partners related to aquatics has taken place in each even year. Since 2014 it has been staged in conjunction with the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), in December.

23- Sport at all ages

The FINA World Masters Championships is the biggest FINA event in terms of participation, with around 10,000 athletes per edition. It all started in 1986 in Tokyo (JPN), and since then has been organised every two years. Since 2015 the competition has been held in conjunction with the FINA World Championships. All FINA disciplines are included in the programme (except high diving). Competitors must be aged 25 and above.

Closing ceremony of the Masters in Budapest 2017

24 - Opening the path

When Olga Sedakova (RUS) won three gold medals at the 1998 Worlds in Perth (AUS) she opened an era of unprecedented dominance for a single country in a FINA discipline, in this case synchronised (now artistic) swimming. Since then the Russians have won all the available titles at the Olympic Games (2000-2016, in duet and team, the events included in the programme) and amassed 51 gold medals at the FINA World Championships.

25 - National sport

"Hungary" and "water polo" are almost synonymous. The Magyar men's national team is the most successful one at Olympic level, with nine titles (including three consecutive victories, in 2000, 2004 and 2008), plus three silver and three bronze medals. The Hungarian squad also won the FINA World Championship crowns in 1973, 2003 and 2013.

26 - Lurz, a reference

Thomas Lurz (GER) is by far the best open water swimmer in the history of the FINA World Championships. The German star collected 13 medals (including seven golds across all the possible events - 5km, 10km and 25km) at the Worlds from 2005 to 2013. At the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships (held until 2010) he earned an additional seven medals. At Olympic level he was 10km runner-up in London 2012 and third in Beijing 2008.

Thomas Lurz (GER) in Barcelona World Championships 2013

27 - North American power

From the 1970s to near the end of the 1990s Canada and the United States were the dominant forces in synchronised (now artistic) swimming, before the advent of Russia. They ruled the synchro pool, with eight Olympic and 26 World Championship medals for Canada and nine Olympic and 29 world medals for the USA.

28 - Suriname hero

Suriname have claimed only two Olympic medals since their debut in the Games, in 1960. They both belong to a swimmer, Anthony Nesty. Nesty won the 100m fly in Seoul 1988, surprisingly beating favourite Matt Biondi of the USA and claimed bronze in the same event in Barcelona 1992. The Surinamese hero was also world champion in 1991.

29 - Honouring the best

Since 2014, FINA has staged an annual celebration to reward its stars in each of the six disciplines. The "FINA World Aquatics Gala - Soirée des Etoiles" is held to honour the "Best Athletes of the Year", in accordance with their performances in the top FINA events of the preceding 12 months. The Gala was successively held in Doha (QAT, 2014), Budapest (HUN, 2015), Windsor (CAN, 2016) and Sanya (CHN, 2017).

30 - Japanese flavour

Kosuke Kitajima is the only swimmer so far in Olympic history to have swept back-to-back titles in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke. The Japanese star completed golden doubles in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, adding three more medals (one silver, two bronze) in the 4x100m medley relay, from 2004 to 2012. At World Championship level, Kitajima was 12 times on the podium (including 3 gold), between 2001 and 2013.

31 - Queen Guo

Guo Jingjing, from China, will for ever remain one of the brightest stars in the history of diving. At Olympic level she has six medals - four golds in the 3m individual and 3m synchro, in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, preceded by two silvers in the same events in Sydney 2000. In FINA competitions Guo is the best female diver so far in the history of the Worlds, with 10 gold medals - five consecutive victories apiece in both the 3m individual and synchro finals, from 2001 to 2009.

32 - Machine power

The 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City marked the official introduction of the automatic timing system for the swimming events. However, in 1964 in Tokyo (JPN), judges were able to consult the machine to resolve third place in the men's 100m free. According to manual times, both Hans-Joachim Klein (FRG) and Gary Ilman (USA) touched for bronze in 54.0, but automatic timing determined that Klein was 0.001sec faster than the American.

33 - Solo perfection

Virginie Dedieu is one of the best soloists in the history of artistic swimming. Currently a member of the FINA Athletes Committee, Dedieu won six medals for France at the World Championships, from 1998 to 2007. Among her successes were three consecutive solo gold medals in 2003, 2005 and 2007. At the Olympics, Dedieu won a bronze medal in duet at the 2000 Games in Sydney (AUS).

Virginie Dedieu (FRA)

34 - Mastering waves

Gertrude Ederle (USA) was a pioneer in open water swimming. Competing at the 1924 Olympics in Paris (FRA), she was part of the winning 4x100m free relay and earned two bronze medals, in the 100m and 400m free. In 1926 Ederle entered the history books when she became the first woman to cross the English Channel. She performed the feat in 14 hours and 34 minutes, two hours faster than the best previous mark achieved by a man.

35 - Politics and blood

One of the most remembered matches in water polo history opposed the teams of Hungary and Soviet Union at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne (AUS). In the semi-final of the men's tournament, the very tense political situation at the time between the two nations was translated into a very violent and physical match. One of the most vivid images of the game was of Hungary's Ervin Zador, bleeding after being punched by a Soviet opponent.

36 - Swimming & Surfing

One of the most complete athletes of his time (1910/1920s) was American Duke Kahanamoku. He took part in the 1912, 1920 and 1924 Olympics, earning five medals (two golds and a silver in the 100m free; gold in the 4x200m free in 1920 and silver in the same event in 1912). In 1924 Kahanamoku also claimed bronze in the water polo tournament. As well as his heroics in the pool, Kahanamoku helped popularise his other passion: surfing.

37 - Under 15 minutes

Vladimir Salnikov (RUS), currently a FINA Bureau Member, is also a living legend in swimming. At the 1980 Olympics in Moscow he became the first to swim the 1500m free in less than 15 minutes, to be precise 14:58.27 for the gold medal. He also won gold in the 400m free and the 4x200m free relay. Absent from the 1984 Games (due to Soviet Union's boycott), Salnikov defied the odds to become Olympic 1500m champion again at the 1988 Seoul Games.

38 - Open water relay

Introduced at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai (CHN), the 5km team event in open water swimming has evolved with time. Initially, three swimmers (two men, one woman) from the same country raced together but only the time of the female competitor counted for the final ranking. Since 2017, the race has been similar to a relay, with four swimmers (two men, two women) each swimming a segment of 1.25km - the winning team is the one whose final-leg swimmer touches the finish pad first.

39 - The face of courage

Orlando Duque, from Colombia, is perhaps the most recognisable face in high diving. Before the inclusion of the discipline in the FINA programme in 2013, Duque was already a star in this extreme sport, shining on the established Red Bull cliff diving circuit. Initially a pool diver, Duque, who turns 44 this September and is still competing, was the first FINA world champion. Moreover, he won the initial two editions of the World Cup, in 2014 and 2015.

40 - Europe takes it all

In the men's competition, the dominance of Europe in water polo is complete in the history of the Olympic Games and World Championships. Since 1900 at Olympic level (with the exception of 1904, when only US teams took part), Hungary tops the hierarchy with 9 victories, followed by Great Britain (4), Yugoslavia/Serbia (4), Italy (3), Soviet Union (2) and France, Germany, Spain and Croatia (1 win each). At the Worlds, Yugoslavia/Serbia has dominated with 5 triumphs.

41 - Saving lives

In 2014, FINA launched its "Swimming for All, Swimming for Life" programme, aimed at reducing the alarming rates of drowning- more than 350,000 lives are lost annually around the world - and promoting a healthier lifestyle among the young in the five continents. Since then, FINA has created a series of technical materials and is strongly encouraging national federations to implement "Learn to Swim" programmes at their level.

1st Swimming for All - Swimming for Life Clinic in Bangkok (THA) 2017

42 - The flight of the "Albatross"

Nicknamed the "Albatross" for his arm span of 2.27m, Michael Gross was a superb performer in the pool in the 1980s. The outstanding German amassed an array of Olympic and world titles and broke 12 world records. At the Games, Gross won three golds (200m free and 100m fly in 1984; 200m fly in 1988), two silvers and one bronze, while at the Worlds he claimed five titles between 1982 and 1991, plus five silver and three bronze medals.

43- Shining Anastasias

The Russian duet of Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova dominated artistic swimming in the first decade of the 21st century. Davydova won 13 gold medals at the FINA World Championships, from 2001 to 2011, while Ermakova was world champion on eight occasions. One notable defeat came in the duet final in 2001, won by Japanese pair Miya Tachibana and Miho Takeda. At Olympic level, Davydova won five golds and Ermakova four.

44 - Canadian excellence

Alexandre Despatie, from Canada, is the only diver in the history of the FINA World Championships to have collected gold in all three individual events. In 2003, in Barcelona (ESP), he won the 10m platform. Two years later, at home in Montreal, he was world champion in the 1m and 3m springboard. Despatie made the podium eight times at the Worlds and earned two 3m silver medals at the Olympics (2004 and 2008).

45 - English Channel king

Petar Stoychev (BUL) is one of the most consistent winners in the history of open water swimming. Besides winning seven medals at the FINA World and FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships from 2000 to 2011 (including the 25km title in his last appearance), Stoychev won 58 races and 11 overall titles from 1999 to 2012 in the annual series of the Marathon Swimming World Cup (until 2006) and then Open Water Swimming Grand Prix. In 2007 he became the first swimmer ever to cross the English Channel in under seven hours.

46 - US strength

Since the inclusion of women's water polo at the Olympic Games - in Sydney (AUS) 2000 - only one team has twice won the tournament: USA, in 2012 and 2016. At the FINA World Championships, the USA has also been dominant, with five victories: 2003 (Barcelona, ESP), 2007 (Melbourne, AUS), 2009 (Rome, ITA), 2015 (Kazan, RUS), and 2017 (Budapest, HUN). Other winners have been Australia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands and Spain.

47 - Spanish highlight

The first and only world title in artistic swimming for Spain so far came in 2009 when they won the free combination at the Worlds in Rome. Two of the most successful Spanish synchro swimmers ever were in that team: Gemma Mengual and Ona Carbonell. Mengual concluded her career with 19 medals at the FINA showcase (plus two silvers at the Olympics), while Carbonell has 20 podium presences at the Worlds (and also two medals at the Games).

48 - Chinese women rule

China's supremacy in women's individual diving has been overwhelming in the past 30 years: at Olympic level, since 1988, all 3m springboard gold medals have gone to the Asian powerhouse, while in 10m platform, the exceptions were 2000 (Laura Wilkinson, USA) and 2004 (Chantelle Newbery, AUS). At the FINA Worlds, the 3m crown has belonged to China since 2001, while the 10m title has changed hands quite often in that time (four for China, five for non-Chinese divers).

49 - Beating the idol

Joseph Schooling, from Singapore, gave his tiny nation the first gold ever in its Olympic history when he won the 100m fly (in a time of 50.39) at the 2016 Games in Rio. Having admired Michael Phelps from his childhood, Schooling seized the chance to beat his idol in one of the most epic races of those Games. Phelps had to share silver with Laszlo Cseh (HUN) and Chad le Clos (RSA).

Joseph Schooling (SGP)

50 - President for 21 years

Mustapha Larfaoui, from Algeria, was the longest-serving president in FINA's history. He was elected at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul (KOR) and left the FINA leadership at the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome (ITA), completing 21 years at the helm of our international federation. He is currently FINA Honorary Life President.