The first attempt to formalise international masters swimming was made at the inaugural Age Group Aquatic Competition in Toronto, Canada in 1978. A formal meeting was held on April 12, 1983 in Sydney, which resulted in the formation of Masters Swimming – International (MSI), with Australian Gary Stutsel as the first President. A year later, seven more nations sought to take fee-paying membership to nine and a rulebook was drawn up.
Newly elected FINA President Robert Helmick proposed to the Bureau in 1984 that the international federation take Masters under its wing. In April the following year, the FINA Bureau met in Indianapolis and formed a Masters Commission.
On November 9-10, 1985, the Bureau voted to take jurisdiction of Masters Swimming – International. Special rules had to be drawn up so that Masters could join the FINA family of sports and for the appointment of members of a Masters Committee to be possible. The inaugural MSI World Masters Championships, in Tokyo in 1986, were organised under FINA rules.
A rule amendment was made to make it possible for older swimmers to race as masters without forfeiting their right to compete at the elite level. The Bureau also appointed the first FINA Masters Committee.
Swimming remained the only sport at the second and third World Masters Championships, respectively in Brisbane, Australia, in 1988, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1990, but since then all five FINA disciplines have become part of the show, while MSI faded away in favour of FINA.
On October 29, 2012 the FINA Bureau made a decision to expand the existing programme of the FINA World Championships and to add the Masters tournament to it, beginning in 2015. According to the new format, the FINA World Masters Championships will be held alongside the main event, as its integral part.
1990 Rio de Janeiro
2010 Goteborg, Boras
Right after the 17th FINA World Championships, Budapest will have the pleasure to host the 17th FINA World Masters Championships as well. With this latter world event the main goal of the International Swimming Federation is to let athletes over 25 prove that they remain capable of competing on the highest level in the different disciplines.
Our purpose is to welcome the sportsmen and sportswomen from all around the world to Budapest and Balatonfüred, and to promote aquatics. We would not only like to host athletes of different age groups with the purpose of competing, but also to provide them with unforgettable moments via the landscape, culture and gastronomy of our country. Hopefully, many of the athletes, their family members and friends will return to Hungary with those unique memories in mind.
Even so for many the ‘main competitions’ of FINA represent the elite World Championships, but for us - organisers - both events have the same priority. We are going to focus on and put all our heart into both. No doubt, the FINA World Masters Championships is by far the largest FINA event.
The entire team of organisers will make all possible efforts to offer a great and unforgettable event for all of you who visit us in 2017.
Wishing you good preparation and all the best,
Miklós Seszták, J.D.
President of the Organising Committee