Where Is Open Water Swimming On Universal Sports?

Where Is Open Water Swimming On Universal Sports?

While the rest of the world has enjoyed online and television coverage of the 2013 FINA World Championships from Barcelona, Spain, open water swimming fans were left high and dry throughout the United States.

With a blackout of the live webcasting of open water swimming events on television and online, Americans had to wonder and wait for Facebook and the social media world to tell them what went on with some of the most exciting events in aquatic history.

Hours of racing in Barcelona came out to differences of tenths of seconds among the medalists and those who followed very closely in their wake. The rest of the world witnessed and cheered on a 1-2 finish by Brazilian women (Poliana Okimoto and Ana Marcela Cunha, a courageous victory by a Tunisian hero (Oussama Mellouli), an opening victory by a smiling Californian (Haley Anderson), a brilliant execution of a marathon strategy by a Greek open water god (Spyros Gianniotis), a gutsy performance by a slender woman in a rough-and-tough battle to the finish (Poliana Okimoto), and a powerful display of efficiency and power by a trio of German team (Thomas Lurz, Christian Reichert, and Isabelle Härle). The races had drama, back stories, tension, navigational difficulties, strategic mistakes, an heart-warming victors.

Combined with a silky-smooth commentary from an experienced hand (e.g., Sid Cassidy or Shelley Taylor-Smith), the visuals, sounds, and backgrounds of the open water swimming community in Barcelona would have been a great show, a can’t-miss event.

Instead, Universal Sports Network and NBC announced that it will air 70 hours from the pool at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona from July 20th through August 4th in the world championships for diving, pool swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo. UniversalSports.com will also stream all events live in addition to posting daily video highlights and news from Barcelona at universalsports.com/swimming.

In terms of raw numbers, how many potential American viewers are there of the open water swimming elite?

Assume there are 180,000 hard-core open water swimmers, 1.9 million individuals who took part in some kind of multi-sport competition/triathlon where at least one discipline was open water. We cannot imagine that the water polo and synchronized swimming markets are larger than this.

So where is open water swimming in the Universal Sports Network?

Forgotten and ignored or considered and discarded? Or, alternatively, on the agenda for the next world championship coverage?

Let’s hope that athletes like these competitors in tomorrow’s 25 km world championship are deserving of at least some webcasting exposure in future FINA World Championships.


1. Julia Lucila Arino (ARGENTINA)
2. Celia Barrot (FRANCE)
3. Olga Beresnyeva (UKRAINE)
4. Ana Marcela Cunha (BRAZIL)
4. Yang Dandan (CHINA)
5. Margarita Dominguez Cabezas (SPAIN)
6. Eva Fabian (UNITED STATES)
7. Alice Franco (ITALY)
8. Wasela Hussien (EGYPT)
9. Christine Jennings (UNITED STATES)
10. Yumi Kida (JAPAN)
11. Fabiana Lamberti (ITALY)
12. Angela Maurer (GERMANY)
13. Vicenia Navarro (VENEZUELA)
14. Paola Perez (VENEZUELA)
15. Barbora Picková (CZECH REPUBLIC)
16. Xeniya Romanchuk (KAZAKHSTAN)
17. Silvie Rybářová (CZECH REPUBLIC)
18. Lei Shan (CHINA)
19. Alexandra Sokolova (RUSSIA)
20. Nadine Williams (CANADA)
21. Svenja Theresa Zihsler (GERMANY)

1. Guillermo Bertola (ARGENTINA)
2. Luis Bolanos (VENEZUELA)
3. Martin Miguel Carrizo Yunges (ARGENTINA)
4. Badr Chebchoub (TUNISIA)
5. Igor Chervynskiy (UKRAINE)
6. Allan Do Carmo (BRAZIL)
7. Evgeni Drattcev (RUSSIA)
8. Vladimir Dyatchin (RUSSIA)
9. Simone Ercoli (ITALY)
10. Abdelrahman Esam (EGYPT)
11. Antonios Fokaidis (GREECE)
12. Spyridon Gianniotis (GREECE)
13. Philippe Guertin (CANADA)
14. Gergely Gyurta (HUNGARY)
15. Weng Jingwei (CHINA)
16. Vitaliy Khudyakov (KAZAKHSTAN)
17. Arseniy Lavrentyev (PORTUGAL)
18. Han Lidu (CHINA)
19. Thomas Lurz (GERMANY)
20. Rhys Mainstone-Hodson (AUSTRALIA)
21. Erwin Maldonado (VENEZUELA)
22. Alex Meyer (UNITED STATES)
23. Saleh Mohammad (SYRIA)
24. Jan Pošmourný (CZECH REPUBLIC)
25. Hercules Troyden Prinsloo (SOUTH AFRICA)
26. Christian Reichert (GERMANY)
27. Shahar Resman (ISRAEL)
28. Axel Reymond (FRANCE)
29. Simone Ruffini (ITALY)
30. Phillip Ryan (NEW ZEALAND)
31. Brian Ryckeman (BELGIUM)
32. Libor Smolka (CZECH REPUBLIC)
33. Igor Snitko (UKRAINE)
34. Bertrand Venturi (FRANCE)
35. Diogo Villarinho (BRAZIL)
36. Richard Weinberger (CANADA)
37. Jordan Wilimovsky (USA)

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