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Swimming - 12. April 2007.



"The biggest and best ever"

Melbourne (AUS), April 1, 2007 – With the 12th FINA World Championships drawing to a close, FINA President Mustapha Larfaoui has declared the event the biggest and best in history.

Held at three world-class venues in the host-city, Melbourne, the Championships produced many memorable moments, including breathtaking world records in the Susie O’Neill Pool at Rod Laver Arena.

Mr Larfaoui said Melbourne has cemented its reputation as the sporting capital of the world by breaking the record for the most number of spectators at a FINA World Championships.

“Melbourne will have in excess of 215-thousand people attending the two week Championships by the end of the swimming tonight, breaking the previous record of 205-thousand set in Barcelona in 2003,” Mr Larfaoui said.

“An event of this size and complexity presents many challenging scenarios and I’m thrilled to say that Melbourne has delivered beyond expectations. We have been very pleased with the world standard of the three competition venues, and of course, the high standard of broadcast to an estimated one billion people around the world.”

Mr Larfaoui congratulated the organising committee for staging the biggest and best Championships of all time.

“The approach has been professional and innovative from day one in terms of planning and execution while providing the ideal setting for athletes to participate in the biggest and best ever FINA World Championships.

“Of course, I’d also like to thank the Victorian Government, the City of Melbourne and our commercial partners for their much-valued support and all of the volunteers who have given up their time to help make this event such a success.”

In total, around 2200 athletes from 171 nations have featured in Melbourne – the biggest in the 34 year history of the event.

“More countries than ever before have competed at these Championships highlighting the development of our sports right around the world,” Mr Larfaoui said.

‘Our goal is to continue promoting global participation of our five aquatic sports and these Championships have played a crucial role in achieving that vision.

FINA praised many of the innovations and technological advances introduced in Melbourne.

Among them:

• 3G and on line coverage of the FINA World Championships enabling people in Australia and New Zealand to share in the competition

• First use of the popular water screen, pool side flames and entertainment to enhance the spectacle for patrons

• Pontoon start for the Open Water Swimming

• First use of the water ceremony which will see every host city ‘share’ in the water from previous host cities in the same way as the Olympic torch travels the globe

• First use of a Goodwill partner at the Championships – Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute

• The first time a temporary pool has been named after a former athlete – the Susie O’Neill pool

• First use of wireless technology in the venue media tribunes to enable quick access to the rest of the world

• The first sport development highlighting the five aquatics events through the ‘Learn to Swim’ program

• The schools program teaching students about the five aquatics events through class room curriculum and attendance at the heats

• A wonderful cultural festival and live site area to enable the city and citizens of Melbourne to become involved in the FINA World Championships

“The 12th FINA World Championships in Melbourne have been an outstanding success and Rome will now continue the high level of Championships when we all meet again in 2009,” Mr Larfaoui said.

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