| No. of participating countries: 144
| No. of athletes: 1784
The only North American edition of FINA World Championships till date were hosted by Montreal in 2005. The tournament saw the triumphs of the US delegation (17 gold, 15 silver and 7 bronze), with several world records – all in all, 15 American and 13 Australian gold medals were claimed in swimming, the diving team of the host country clinched 3 gold medals while in women’s open water swimming witnessed an excellent Dutch performance. The Hungarian delegation could win 3 medals thanks to László Cseh and 2 more thanks to the water polo teams.
Contrary to Barcelona with 2015 athletes present, this time there were „only” 1784 participants indicating a minor drop supposedly due to the North American location, a less accessible destination. Still there were 144 nations present in the capital city of Quebec.
The World Championships took place in the charming Jean Drapeau Park on Saint Helen Island in an area bordered by the Saint Lawrence river – the majority of the competitors, including Michael Phelps, took the local tube routinely to travel to the venue.
Thanks to their swimmers, the dominance of the US in Montreal was undeniable. Gaining 17 gold, 15 silver and 7 bronze medals they topped the medal table. Australia succeeded in keeping up with them clinching 13 gold medals in swimming events. China was ranked 3rd in the medal table by 5-5-7 medals. Altogether there were 26 nations gaining at least one medal.
The Hungarian delegation of 36 members claimed 2 gold 2 silver and 1 bronze. The Hungarian women’s water polo team finished first, László Cseh became a champion in 400m medley, the men’s water polo team finished second, László Cseh won a silver in 200m medley, and the single bronze medal was claimed by him, also, in 100m backstroke.
There were some swimmers who achieved a double in individual swimming events, but it was only the Australian swimmer, Grant Hackett who managed to gain three individual titles in Montreal. He finished first in 400, 800 and 1500m as well, in 800m he set a new world record. In addition, in 200m freestyle he was the runner-up to Michael Phelps and he won a bronze, too, in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
The American icon, Michael Phelps became world champion in the 200m medley in addition to 200m freestyle, he was a member of the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relay clinching gold and he finished second in 100m butterfly behind fellow swimmer, Ian Crocker. American Aaron Piersol (100 and 200m backstroke) and Brendan Hansen (100 and 200m breaststroke) also won double golds, alongside South African Roland Schoeman (50m freestyle and 50m butterfly) who also broke the world record in the fly dash and finished runner-up to Italian Filippo Magnini in 100m freestyle.
The gold medal by Aristeidis Grigoriadis in 50m backstroke was also a rare highlight, indeed he became his nation’s first ever world champion.
As for the women, Australia led the charge. Leisel Jones doubled (100 and 200m breaststroke, breaking the world record in the final of the longer one), individual world title was claimed by Libby Lenton (50m freestyle), Jodie Henry (100m freestyle), Giaan Rooney (50m backstroke), Jade Edmistone (50m breaststroke, new world record), Danni Miatke (50m butterfly) and Jessica Schipper (100m butterfly). On top of that, Australia clinched 2 gold in relay events as well.
Beside American swimmer Katie Hoff (200 and 400m medley) and Katie Ziegler (800 and 1500m freestyle), Kirsty Coventry from Zimbabwe gained two individual world titles too (100 and 200m backstroke).
Dutchwoman Edith van Dijk came up with an excellent performance in open water swimming as she clinched medals in all 3 events. She claimed bronze in 5 km and became world champion in 10 and 25 km alike.
Concerning men, a new king emerged: Germany’s Thomas Lurz (1 gold, 1 silver) who then ruled the men’s field for a decade or so – Bulgarian Petar Stojchev had two bronze medals.
For the first time in the history of World Championships in diving, Canada could claim gold in both men and women’s events. Alexandre Despatie became world champion in 1 and 3 m, while Blythe Hartley clinched gold in the 1m women’s event. Besides, 5 Chinese, 1 American and 1 Russian gold were claimed in Canada.
The Russian synchro swept in Montreal was halted in solo by the iconic synchro swimmer, Virgine Dedieu from France (finished ahead of Natalia Ischenko). All other events in the discipline were topped by the Russians.
The World Championships in Montreal was the only edition where both the men and women’s water polo teams of Hungary played in the finals. The men’s team came to Montreal to retain their world title and they could make it to the final. They played a quite demanding match against the Greek led by Alessandro Campagna in the semi-final (7-6, Peter Biros scored 6 goals) and the final saw a similarly hard fight with Petar Porobic’s team of Serbia&Montenegro, but the Hungarians missed a penalty at 3-1 and that cost them a lot, the Serbs avenged their painful 8-7 defeat at the Athens Olympics, this time they won 8-7 and could celebrate a world title for the first time after 1991.
In the women’s tourney, the Hungarian team won the World Championships for the second time after 1994. The side was led by the legendary Tamás Faragó who had played the match of his life here in Montreal, scoring four goals in the decisive game against Italy at the 1976 Olympics. His team now defeated the US in the extra time (in the group match they managed to do so before, winning 9-8). An iconic figure of the sport, Mercédesz Stieber was a member of the 1994 as well as of the 2005 world champion team.