World Championships Betting

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Competitive swimming is exciting to watch and wager on, even if the betting opportunities are rather limited. Certainly the most famous competition is the Summer Olympics, which occurs only once every four years. In between those occasions, the World Championships stand as the pinnacle water sports event, providing a look at the best aquatics talent from around the globe.

The organising body for the World Championships is the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is the only International Swimming Federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for administering international competition in aquatic sports.

Specifically, FINA serves as the world governing body for five disciplines: swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and open water swimming. It coordinated the very first World Championships for these sports in 1973. From 1978 to 1998, the event was held every four years, in the even years between Summer Olympics. Beginning in 2001, however, the Championships were switched to a biennial schedule, conducted in odd years.

The 14th FINA World Championships, also referred to as the World Aquatics Championships, were held in July 2011 at China’s Shanghai Oriental Sports Center. All five disciplines were represented, with gold, silver and bronze medals awarded to the top three finishers in 66 separate events. This most recent edition served as a qualifying stage for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

As the 2011 host country for the fortnight-long competition, China gained the most total medals with 36, while the United States garnered the greatest number of golds with 17. Synchronized swimmer Natalia Ishchenko of Russia was the most decorated competitor in 2011, winning all six of the gold medals offered in her events, including solo, duet and team routines.

One unique aspect of the World Championships is that all of the indoor swimming events are contested in a so-called “long course” pool measuring 50 metres end to end, just like the Olympics. This is in contrast to the FINA World Swimming Championships, a five-day competition held every two years in even-numbered years, which always takes place in a 25-metre pool.

Sports betting fans have plenty of opportunities to hone their handicapping skills on the World Championships. Knowing which swimmers and divers are in good recent form is of critical importance, which requires following the FINA world standings and keeping an eye on previous results, dates and fixtures, such as national meets and World Cup events in each discipline.

With the exception of synchronized swimming, which is female-only, markets will be available for the male and female categories in every event. Many of the events follow an elimination-style format, so wagering is possible on qualifying heats as well as the finals. The most common bets are on podium positions and overall medal accumulation by country.

The majority of swimming bets are moneyline or outright winner wagers. Previous World Champions tend to be more heavily backed with tighter odds in their specialties, so spread betting may prove to be an attractive alternative for some events. The most popular races are typically the freestyle, relays, butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke, but there can be excellent value in following the diving, water polo and open water swimming, too.

The next major betting opportunity for World Championship aquatics events will not come until after the London Olympics. Then, the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) will be held in Istanbul, Turkey on December 12-16, 2012. The next two installments of the World Aquatics Championships are slated for Barcelona, Spain in the summer of 2013 and Kazan, Russia in 2015.

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