On 22 September 2018, International Swimming Federation (FINA) and the Ministry of Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan signed the FINA Development Centre Collaboration Agreement. The Kazan Centre has joined other training facilities and centres under the FINA auspices, including the FINA Development Centre in Dakar (Senegal) and the FINA Training Centres – at the Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort in Phuket (Thailand) and in Florida (USA). These centres operate within the framework of various FINA Scholarship and Development Programmes. All of them are intended for athletes from different continents and regions of the world.
The main goal of the FINA Development Centre is to create the most favourable conditions for unlocking the potential of athletes representing countries with minor national achievements in swimming, as well as providing opportunities to improve their results in preparation for the World Championships and the Olympic Games. Upgrading the qualifications of coaches and officials from Russia and neighbouring countries and conducting educational programmes for coaches and officials are another priorities of the FINA Development Centre.
Taking into account ten years’ experience of successful staging of major events, including FINA World Championships in 2015 and annual events of FINA Diving World Series, FINA Swimming World Cup and FINA Artistic Swimming World Series, organization of operations and activities of the FINA Development Centre was entrusted to the Directorate for Sports and Social Projects.
The FINA Development Programme consists of five (5) modules:
FINA Scholarships – for athletes only. The FINA Scholarships Programme offers the opportunity to obtain financial and technical assistance partially covered by FINA for an athlete proposed by their National Federation. The Scholarship helps the athlete in their preparation and qualifying for the upcoming World Championships.
FINA Clinics – for coaches and officials. It is an educational program available to representatives of National Federations who wish to join the FINA Clinics.
FINA Schools – for officials only. The goal of the FINA Schools is to conduct training and certification of officials in 6 (six) aquatic disciplines. Officials attend the FINA School in the particular discipline and pass the certification exam in order to obtain FINA Technical Official status. Only FINA Technical Officials may be included in the list of FINA Technical Officials eligible to officiate at FINA Competitions.
FINA Coaches Certification Programme. The programme is available to representatives of National Federations who wish to join the FINA Coaches Certification Programme. The course is designed to provide coaches with training that gives them an opportunity to continuously develop, educate and improve their level for the advancement of the sport. The FINA Coaches Certification Programme is part of the coaches’ certification course worldwide.
FINA World Seminars. The FINA World Seminar aims to be a reference event for coaches, officials, or experts in the selected FINA discipline. The event is led by the FINA Technical Committee in charge of the discipline, who will define its programme, target group and main goals.
Currently, the main project within the framework of the Centre’s international programme has become the scholarships programme for two disciplines – Swimming and Diving. The launch of the Artistic Swimming programme is also planned.
Since the launch of the programme (from February 18, 2019 to the present), 12 swimmers from 11 countries (Georgia, DPRK, Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, Latvia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Montenegro) have participated in the Swimming programme, two of them qualified for the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea.
The Diving programme is open since May 2019. To date, 7 divers from 7 countries (Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Iran, Lithuania, El Salvador, and Chile) take part in the programme. Three of them participated in the FINA World Championships in Korea in 2019.
Since September 2019, preparations for participation in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are underway. Two scholarship programme participants (Swimming and Diving) qualified for XXXII Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo (Japan).
Staying in Kazan allows the FINA Development Centre scholarship holders to take part in FINA competitions without additional travel costs and with the opportunity to compete “at home”.
Swimming Scholarships Holders: Giorgi Biganishvili (Georgia) (accomplished the programme); Mi Song Pak (DPRK) (accomplished the programme); Song Ok Kim (DPRK) (accomplished the programme); Kristina Panasenko (Kyrgyzstan) (accomplished the programme); Arina Baikova (Latvia); Davor Petrovski (North Macedonia); Nikita Bortnikov (Moldova) (accomplished the programme); Bisma Khan (Pakistan); Ado Gargovic (Montenegro) (accomplished the programme); Musa Zhalyaev (Turkmenistan); Luis Vega Torres (Cuba); athlete (Rwanda) (awaited).
Diving Scholarships Holders: Mohab Mohymen Ishak Ahmed Elkordy (Egypt); Frandiel Gomez Vargas (Dominican Republic); Siddharth Bajrang Pardeshi (India); Hamid Karimi (Iran); Indre Girdauskaite (Lithuania) (accomplished the programme); Alexandra Beatriz Mancia Aguilar (El Salvador); Wendy Denisse Espina Esquivel (Chile) (accomplished the programme).
The training process at the FINA Development Centre is organized at the Aquatics Palace (main venue) and the Olympiets Sports Complex of the Kazan School of Olympic Reserve (additional venue) under the guidance of head coaches (Gulnara Garipova in Swimming and Pavel Muyakin in Diving), appointed by the International Swimming Federation. The FINA Development Centre works closely with the International Swimming Federation, as well as the Russian Swimming Federation and the Russian Diving Federation. The federations’ experts assist with developing individual training plans for each athlete, taking into account their level of training, abilities and personal sports plan for the year. A wide range of experts work at the Centre, helping with the productiveness, efficiency and growth of each programme participant.
Training week consists of 6 training days. At the request of the scholarship holder, an additional opportunity to use the pool for free swimming on Sunday may be provided. In addition to training, athletes learn a new culture, visit local attractions, as well as sports and other events in Kazan.
As part of measures to upgrade the material and technical resources of the Aquatics Palace, in 2019 it was equipped with highly specialized diving equipment and gear that meet all international standards and FINA requirements. Thanks to FINA Partner, the Official Supplier Duraflex (USA) all springboards purchased for the 27th Summer Universiade 2013 were replaced, and 1m and 3m boards and diving blocks were additionally installed in the Aquatics Palace pool. The second specialized hall for diving classes is equipped with sports trampolines, acrobatic tracks, and soft landing pit cubes. Acquired equipment and gear allows the FINA Development Centre Scholarship holders to prepare for top-level competitions and increase their sporting prowess as efficiently as possible.
The scholarship programme participants live in the Universiade Village. Within walking distance from the campus there are public transport stops, metro stations, shopping centres, cafes and restaurants; within 20 minutes ride, there are the Kazan International Airport and Kazan Railway Station. Two scholarship holders are accommodated in one room. Each room is equipped with everything necessary: beds, a separate bathroom, refrigerator, WI-FI.
Athletes have their meals at P.LOVE, Love.Ashe, Cream Coffee restaurants, which serve over 100 different dishes of European, national and oriental cuisines.
It includes the preparation of documents for visa application by participants of the scholarship programme, assistance in obtaining visas, information and consultation support, paperwork necessary to extend the visa validity, as well as migration registration and deregistration.
Since the signing of the agreement, a number of international seminars for coaches and officials have been held:
Seminar on new opportunities in the field of high technologies in sports (November 16, 2018). For Russian swimming coaches. Lecturer – Riku Rimpelä, Finland.
Seminar for Russian swimming judges (beginner) (October 30 - November 3, 2019). Lecturer – Bill Hogan, Canada.
Seminar for Artistic Swimming coaches (April 17-21, 2019). Lecturer – Jennifer Gray, UK.
Seminar for Diving coaches (beginner) (December 1-5, 2019). Lecturer – Alexey Evangulov, UK.
In 2019, the FINA School for Artistic Swimming officials (April 19-21, 2019) with the subsequent examination was held (lecturer – Miwako Homma, Japan). The trainees were the Russian judges of the all-Russian category; 80% of them successfully completed the training.
Together with the Volga State Academy of Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism, the "Academy of Champions" programme is being implemented, which includes:
Additionally, it is possible to obtain higher education degree at the Volga State Academy of Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism.
For the first time in the history of the centres, a temporary training camp was held that brought together talented young athletes from the Thai Thanyapura Training Centre and the Kazan FINA Development Centre. Swimmers from the Korean national team and the South African team joined the camp as well. The training camp was dedicated to the preparation of scholarship holders from two development centres for the FINA Swimming World Cup event, which was held in Kazan on November 1-3, 2019. Together with the best swimmers from around the world, young athletes competed for the World Cup medals. FINA Training Camp gathered over 30 swimmers from 24 countries. The trainings were held twice a day at the Aquatics Palace, under the guidance of world-famous coaches Miguel Lopez Alvarado (Spain) and Graham Hill (South Africa)