| No. of participating countries: 52
| No. of athletes: 848
The best athletes of the world visited South America for the second time upon gathering in Guayaquil (following Cali 1975) for the 4th FINA World Championships. After 1982, the event has not taken place in the tropical continent ever since, so far.
Ecuador hosted the 4th FINA World Championships from July 29 to August 8 in 1982. A total of 848 aquatic athletes competed in Ecuador, surpassing again the previous edition (West Berlin, 1978).
This time, the athletes of East Germany returned once again to the top after their relative setback set-back in West Berlin, where four years previously they only collected a single gold medal. In Guayaquil 12 gold, 9 silver and 5 bronze medals went to them, placing East Germany on the second place in the overall medal ranking.
The United States was the most successful nation of the Championships with 13 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals, they finished on the first place for the fourth time. All in all, 16 nations grabbed at least one medal during at the 4th FINA World Championships.
The Hungarian delegation collected two silver medals: swimmer Sándor Wladár in the 200m backstroke event behind the American Rick Carey and the water polo team (the Hungarian men won silver for the third time in a row).
The United States won in two other individual events (Steve Lundquist in the 100m breaststroke and Matt Gribble in the 100m butterfly) and all three relay finals as well, while the Soviet Union came in second behind the Americans every time.
Six nations collected gold medals in the individual events: current member of FINA Bureau Vladimir Salnikov from the Soviet Union – who got two golds in West Berlin too – won the 400 and 1500 freestyle finals, Canadian Victor Davies dominated in the 200m breaststroke (he won silver over 100m) and while East and West Germany both collected two-two golds as well. Ricardo Prado from Brazil wrote history when he triumphed in the 400m individual medley final – winning the first Brazilian FINA World Championships gold medal.
East German women ruled the swimming events in Guayaquil: they won 10 out of 14 finals, including all three relays. Annamarie Verstappen from the Netherlands (200m freestyle), Americans Kim Linehan (800m freestyle) and Mary T. Meagher (100m butterfly), and Svetlana Varganova from the Soviet Union (200m breaststroke) were the ‘rest of the world’s’ gold medallists.
In West Berlin, diving emperor Greg Louganis won only one gold medal (10m), but in Guayaquil he was pretty successful – not surprisingly – on the 3m as well: the American lived the best period of his career in these years. He doubled up once again in Madrid in 1986 and also at the Olympic Games in 1984 and 1988.
The women’s competition was much more open and tough. Finally, two Americans – Megan Neyer (3m) and Wendy Wyland (10m) – finished on the top of the podium.
While in West Berlin the United States won the gold in the synchro team event, the Canadian girls took revenge in Ecuador. The Canadian squad finished on top of the podium, but American Tracie Ruiz won the solo race this time. Japan collected three bronze medals.
In water polo, Hungary finished on the second place at the World Championships third time in a row, but this silver seemed ever unacceptable for the Magyars. Why? Because the Hungarian water polo team scored a valid goal at the end of the last game of the Championships (against the Soviet Union), the referee called it but the jury did not validate it as they insisted the shot was taken after the buzzer. Thus, the match ended with a draw (7-7) and this result favoured the Soviet team in the old tournament format. The bronze medal went to West Germany.