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Home News Plenty of Former SU Participants shine at FINA Worlds

Plenty of Former SU Participants shine at FINA Worlds

31 August 2015


LAUSANNE – As it is often the case, a number of student-athletes who excel at the Universiade continue to grow and embark on a professional sporting career. At the recently held FINA Aquatics World Championships in Kazan, Russia (24 July – 9 August), once again the medal podiums were crowded with former Universiade champions and medallists.

Kazan Aquatics Palace

Great Universiade Legacy

Two iconic Universiade venues were used for the FINA Worlds, i.e. the Aquatics Palace and the Kazan Arena. Both venues were built for the Universiade. The Kazan Aquatics Palace hosted the FINA Diving and Water Polo competitions, while the majestic Kazan Arena served as the venue for Swimming and Synchronised Swimming, since a temporary pool was installed.


Olympic & Universiade Champion Shannon Vreeland (USA)As it’s almost a tradition, the former Universiade participants competing in swimming at the FINA Worlds are many. Looking at this year’s FINA medallists, 27 former Universiade participants from eleven countries mounted the podium at the 2015 Worlds in Kazan, with USA the most successful with 15 former Universiade medallists winning a medal. Since some FINA medallists not necessarily won a medal at the Universiade once more confirms the fact that for many athletes the FISU Games can also be a stepping stone to bring their performance to the next level. Take Swedish swimmer Jennie Johansson for instance. At the Belgrade Universiade in 2009 she ended 5th in the 50m, at this FINA Worlds she pocket gold becoming a World Champion. Others of course were already medal ‘guzzlers’ at the Universiade and continued to shine at the world stage. Like Hungarian Laszlo Cseh, 3 golds at the 2011 SU and 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze at the FINA Worlds; Lu Ying, 3 golds and 2 bronze at the 2011 SU and 2 golds at this year’s Universiade in Gwangju as well as 1 gold and two bronzes at the FINA Worlds; or Lauren Boyle from New Zealand who pocketed 5 medals (2G, 2 S, 1B) at the Shenzhen Universiade (2011) and won 2 silvers at the Kazan FINA Worlds. Sometimes athletes perform well at the Universiade, reach the pinnacle of their sport right afterwards and later on return to the Universiade to continue to shine. Like Shannon Vreeland (USA). Shannon got a silver medal at the 2011 SU, became an Olympic Champion the year after at the London Olympics and returned this year competing at the Gwangju Universiade winning 4 golds and 1 bronze.

DivingDiver Samantha Mills (AUS), gold at the 2013 SU 2013, bronze at the 2015 Worlds

In Diving, with the exception of the Mixed 10m Synchro Platform and the Men’s 10m Platform, all other 11 diving medal podiums counted at least one former Universiade medallist or participant. 22 out of 60 FINA medallists who mounted the Kazan podium previously competed at the Universiade. Standing out is Chinese female diver Shi Tingmao, winning three medals, i.e. gold in the Women’s 3m Synchro Springboard, silver in the Women’s 1m Springboard and gold in the Women’s 3m Springboard. Shi won the gold in the 1m Springboard at the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen. The majority of the 22 former SU divers competed at the Universiade in 2011, followed by a number of 2013 SU competitors. Most surprising medallist was diving veteran Wu Minxia (CHN) who won two medals at the 2003 SU in Daegu, Korea (gold 3m & gold 3m synchro) and also a gold (1m Springboard) at the 2005 Universiade in Izmir, Turkey.

Kazan Arena

Water Polo

In Water Polo, only three former Universiade medallists mounted the FINA podium in Kazan. Giulia Gorlero, Laura Barzon and Laura Teani found themselves on the same medal podium to receive their bronze medal, as they did in 2013 during the Universiade, being members of the Italian Women’s Team that ended in third place. Nevertheless, at least 61 former Universiade participants were battling in this year’s FINA water polo pool to give their best, including 2013 SU gold and silver medallists. The Japanese women’s team was a combined team from players on the 2013 and 2015 Universiade rosters.

Synchronised Swimming

At the 27th Summer Universiade in Kazan, Synchronised Swimming made its debut as an optional sport on the FISU programme. It was a historical first resulting in a high calibre competition. Proof is the fact that 28 athletes present then, returned to the pool in Kazan this year. Fourteen of them – six Japanese and eight Russians – won together 43 medals of the 134 at stake. In the nine competitions, six featured former Universiade participants on the podium.

Overall, 66 former Universiade participants won one or more medals at the 16th FINA World Championships.

Here you can download an excel file with more details.


Christian Pierre, FISU Press Officer