| No. of participating countries: 39
| No. of athletes: 682
The second World Aquatics Championships were held in Cali, South America, from 19 to 27 July 1975. The United States and the Germany once again dominated.
Perhaps it was the remoteness of the venue, but in any case there were eight fewer nations in Cali than two years earlier, although the difference in the number of competitors was imperceptible (686-682 in favour of Belgrade).
The results of the World Championships reflected the international sporting climate of the era, with East Germany’s competitors adding to the dominance of the United States. As in Belgrade, these two countries finished in the top two places on the medal table. The Americans finished with 16 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals, the GDR with 11 gold, 7 silver and 5 bronze. Hungary finished third with 3 gold medals and 1 silver, while the Soviet Union finished fourth with 2 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze. The host country Colombia did not win any medals.
In the 10m event alone. Italy’s Klaus Dibiasi won the high jump in the same way as in Belgrade, finishing silver in the 3m behind Phil Boggs of the USA. In the women’s 3m, the Soviet Irina Kalinina won (after her bronze medal in the steeplechase in Belgrade), while the American Janet Ely won the 10m.
American Tim Shaw is one of the few athletes to win Olympic medals in both swimming and water polo. Named Swimming World Magazine’s Swimmer of the Year in 1974 and 1975, the American won gold medals in the 200, 400 and 1500 freestyle in Cali (he was also part of the polo team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics).
The USA also had a great year, winning the 100 freestyle, 100 and 200 butterfly, 4×100 freestyle and medley relay. The GDR had to settle for a gold medal in the men’s 100 back (Roland Matthes) and the 4×200 freestyle relay was won by the GDR. Britain’s David Wilkie won the 100 and 200 breaststroke, Hungary’s András Hargitay won the 200 and 400medley and Zoltán Verrasztó won the 200m backstroke.
In the women’s event, the GDR produced a very different performance, winning gold medals in 10 of the 14 events, but also 5 silver and 4 bronze medals. Kornelia Ender alone won 4 gold and 1 silver medal. In addition to the East German athletes, the performance of American Shirley Babashoff was noteworthy: 2 gold (200 and 400 freestyle), 3 silver (100 freestyle, 4x 100 freestyle and medley relay) and a bronze (800 freestyle) were on board the plane with her at the end of the World Championships.
As in Belgrade in 1973, there were American victories, Canadian silver medals and Japanese bronze medals in all synchro events, including individual, doubles and team.
Hungary failed to defend its title in men’s water polo as the Soviet Union beat Dezső Gyarmati’s team in the round-robin matches after the group stage, avenging a 5-4 defeat in Belgrade. They even managed a 5-5 draw with Italy.