In addition to the Summer Olympic Games, there are other international competitions for swimmers. Some of the major international swimming competitions are:

  • Pan American Games – Held every four years before the Summer Olympic Games, the Pan American Games are a major sporting event in the Americas. Athletes from North, South, and Central America come together to compete. Aquatic events include swimming, diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming.
  • Pan Pacific Swimming Championships – Since 2002, this long course swimming competition is held every four years in the even year between Summer Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014, and so on). This event was started as an alternative to the European Championships, so Japan, Canada, Australia and the United States could have a formal competition. Recently other countries like Brazil and South Africa have become eligible to compete. Because of the presence of Australia and the USA, this event is considered one of the toughest international swimming competitions being on par with the Olympics, the World Championships, and the European Championships.
  • European Athletics Championships – This event is only open to European countries and is held every two years. The event sometimes happens during an Olympic year.
  • FINA Swimming World Cup – This a series of short course swimming meets held over two days. Open to any swimmer from a FINA member country, the international competition commonly happens during the winter months of the Northern Hemisphere, which is during the short course competition season.
  • FINA World Swimming Championships – Held every two years, this competition takes place in a short course pool. The event is a five-day competition, and swimmers from all over the world come to compete.
  • FINA World Aquatics Championships – This event is the World Championships for all aquatic sports: swimming, diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming. Since 2001, the World Championships are held every two years. This event does not happen during Olympic years; instead, the competition is held during the odd years (2011, 2013, and so on).
  • Duel in the Pool – Started in 2003, two nations compete against each other to see who is the best across a series of events. The nations are not set. USA and Australia have competed often, but Australia has gone against Japan, and in 2011, the USA competed against the E-Stars, a team comprised of swimmers from various European countries.

Swimmers who perform well in international competitions bring prestige to their countries and advance their careers. Many countries use the results from various competitions to make their national swim teams. Competing in international events gives swimmers experience; competing in many events will provide swimmers with the opportunity to learn if they are ready for the international stage, including the Olympics. Some countries also use performance at international and national events to determine their Olympic teams, including the United States. Performance at certain events will get a swimmer to the USA Olympic team trials, and swimmers who have trained and competed for years normally perform the best at this event.