Over 1,200 Aquatics experts, delegates and exhibitors from all corners of the globe gathered in the eclectic city of Hangzhou, China, for the FINA World Aquatics Convention 2018. Friendships, knowledge and advice were shared over the 3 days, 20+ sessions and 2 conferences.
We do hope all attendees took away some valuable insights from this year’s event – we certainly did!
Here are 4 key things we learnt …
It’s not just about medals
When FINA is mentioned, most people envisage the FINA World Cup and FINA World Championships. It is sometimes forgotten that FINA – as the International Governing Body of the Aquatics industry – also provides invaluable information and support to those involved in the sport.
Over the last 3 days, the Convention brought up some very topical issues within the Aquatics world. Two excellent examples were Swimming for Life (FINA Development programmes) and Innovative approaches to teaching swimming (Myrtha Pools).
Perhaps Brazilian Olympic swimmer Thiago Pereira summarises it best: ‘Swimming is the only sport that saves life.’
FINA is not just about organising large events with the world’s best athletes. It has a duty of care to educate swimming coaches and teachers on the best ways to get their students in the water and safe in the water. As Carl Partridge from AUSTSWIM puts it, ‘we teaches teachers to teach’.
With sessions like this at the Convention, a fundamental life skill is promoted which will be spread around the world and consequently save lives.
“We’re taking away relationships and connections with coaches from around the world – connections that would never have been possible without this event.”
Sebastian Weber, Head of Human Performance, INSCYD
An abundance of culture
The Convention, with attendees from 209 National Federations, enjoyed a rich variety of cultures and provided a fantastic opportunity to listen and learn from different global perspectives.
This year’s delegates were afforded the chance to hear insights from some of the world’s best coaches, including two well-known and well-respected Chinese coaches. It is unusual to gain such access, especially with Tokyo 2020 less than 600 days away.
“Pride. We’re proud to be able to confidently say that Arena is a truly global brand which resonates across many different countries. It’s been amazing to get such valuable feedback from coaches and Federations all over the world.”
Mizu Yamada, Brand Manager, Arena
FINA is more than Swimming
Undoubtedly, Swimming is one of the most popular sports in the Olympics, yet it is not the only sport FINA governs. From Artistic Swimming to Diving, Open Water Swimming to Water Polo, there is much to be shared by experts in these disciplines.
One great example from the Convention – Extraordinary Technical Water Polo Congress – saw an hour-long session with 23 Water Polo experts offer insight into and advice about the sport.
First-time exhibitors KAP7 – “Built for Water Polo Players by Water Polo Players” – definitely made their mark in Hangzhou.
“This event has allowed us to expand our network at the very top level of international swimming. In our business, relationships are critical and we’re always thankful to be able to participate in this event.”
Yiota Charalambous, Operations Manager, Arena Sports Cyprus
‘The Number 1 reason we attend the FINA Convention? Networking,’ says Lindsay Hoffman, Vice President of SUITMATE.
Networking at the Convention does of course offer commercial opportunities – but more than that, it offers friendship too. In a unique environment, where exhibitors meet and connect, life-long friendships are made.
“Friendship. This event allows us to get to know our international colleagues and Aquatics stakeholders better – developing stronger relationships and ultimately friendships.”
Marco Coesel, CEO, Variopool
With a record-breaking number of attendees, and access to world-class speakers, the 2018 Convention was ground-breaking.
Access to the Chinese market has been a rare and exciting opportunity.
Aquatics has come a long way, and events like the FINA Convention help us achieve the best possible future for Aquatics.