The FINA World Aquatics Championships are the World Championship for aquatic sports. These aquatic sports are swimming, diving, high diving, open water swimming, synchronized swimming, and water polo. The event was first held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1973 and was held every four years in the even years between Summer Olympic years until 1998. Beginning in 2001, it has been held every two years during the odd years.

The United States is the winningest country in the World Aquatic Championships with a total haul of 586 medals distributed as 253 golds, 193 silvers, and  140 bronze medals. China is second with 130 gold medals, 95 silvers and 71 bronze medals. Russia is in third place with 93 golds, 62 silvers, and 55 bronze medals.

As for individual athletes, Olympic all-time great Michael Phelps has won the most medals in the World Aquatics Championships with a total of 33. Phelps also has the most gold and silver medals won at 26 and 6, respectively. Synchronized swimmer Natalia Ischenko of Russia is in second place with 19 gold medals while swimmer Ryan Lochte of the United States is second in the medal tally with 27 total medals and third with 18 gold medals.

The Americans led the medal table during the 2017 World Aquatics Championships with 21 gold medals, 12 silver medals and 13 bronze medals for a total of 46 medals. China came in second with a 12-12-6 medal haul. Russia placed third with its tally of 11-6-8 medals.

This year’s World Aquatics Championships is the 18th edition of the event and will be held in Gwangju, South Korea from July 12-28, 2019. There will be multiple venues for the competition but the main venue is the Main Aquatics Centre which was built when the city hosted the 2015 Summer Universiade Aquatic games.

A total of 76 medal events across six disciplines will be contested in Gwangju. 42 of these are in swimming, 13 in diving, 10 in synchronized swimming, 7 in open water swimming, and two each in high diving and water polo.

Here are some of the early betting odds that are out for this aquatics event:

“Trophy" 200M freestyle Men

Head to Head Odds:

  • Danas Rapsys 1.15
  • James Guy 4.75

Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys is a one-time Olympian who owns several Lithuanian swimming records. The 24-year-old is a decorated 200m freestyle swimmer with gold medal wins at the 2017 European Championships and 2017 Summer Universiade Games. Rapsys also won silver at the 2018 World Championships and another silver at 2018 European Championships. On the other hand, James Guy won this event during the 2015 World Aquatics Championships and was a bronze medal winner at the 2016 European Championships. However, Guy has swum and anchored several gold-winning performances for England’s 4X200m freestyle races.

During the 2018 European Aquatics Championships, Rapsys beat Guy head to head in the heats, semifinals 2 and in the finals of the 200m freestyle competition. Guy has been the more decorated swimmer here but Rapsys has been in better form in recent competition. Prediction: Danas Rapsys

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“Trophy" 800M freestyle Men

Head to Head Odds:

  • Florian Wellbrock 1.20
  • Henrik Christiansen 4.00

Florian Wellbrock swam the men’s 1500m freestyle for Germany at the 2016 Summer Olympics and he was a bronze medalist in the 800m freestyle at the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow. Norway’s Henrik Christiansen has made his mark in the 400m freestyle, taking silver at the 2018 World Championships, Silver at the 2016 and 2018 European Championships ( LC ) and bronze at the 2017 European Championships ( SC ).

Wellbrook edged out Christiansen for the bronze medal at the 800m freestyle race at the 2018 European Championships. If this were a shorter race, maybe I would have picked Christiansen but at 800m, I’ll go with Wellbrock. Prediction: Florian Wellbrock

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“Trophy" 50M butterfly Women

Head to Head Odds:

  • Sarah Sjostrom 1.13
  • Ranomi Kromowidjojo 5.00

Sarah Sjostrom is a specialist in sprint freestyle and butterfly events. She is the current world record holder for 50m butterfly ( long course), 50m freestyle ( long course ) as well as in the 100m freestyle ( long course ) and the 200m freestyle ( short course ). She was the Olympic gold medalist in the 100m butterfly. At the Worlds, she won gold in this event in 2015 and 2017. Ranomi Kromowidjojo was also an Olympic gold medalist but at 50m and 100m freestyle in 2012 and the 4×100 freestyle race. Kromowidjojo finished second to Sjostrom at the 2017 Worlds in Budapest.

Sarah Sjostrom is the world record holder for the 50M butterfly for women and the 2016 Olympic gold medalist at the longer 100m butterfly. Kromowidjojo would have done better if this were a freestyle race but this is not. Prediction: Sarah Sjostrom

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“Trophy" 800m Freestyle Women

Head to Head Odds:

  • Katie Ledecky 1.03
  • Ariarne Titmus 9.00

Katie Ledecky is the back to back Olympic champion in the 800m freestyle for women. She was a surprise winner at London in 2012 but was the most decorated female athlete of the 2016 Olympics. She’s also won three straight 800m freestyle golds at the World Championships ( LC ) from 2013 to 2017. Ariarne Titmus won the 800m freestyle at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and was a silver medalist at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.

No question on who to pick here. Back to back Olympic Gold medals and three consecutive world championships. Unless there’s a sharp decline in Katie Ledecky, she’s the bet here, by a mile. Prediction: Katie Ledecky

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