The best place to start analyzing the history of the FINA World Aquatics Championships is the formation of the sanctioning body itself, FINA. Known in English as the International Swimming Federation. FINA is the international federation that sanctions international water competitions under both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as well as the international community. It was formed on 19 July 1908 after the culmination of the 1908 Summer Olympics.
At its inception, the original members of FINA were the Belgium, British, Finnish, Danish, French, German, Swedish, and Hungarian swimming federations. Years later, many other federations have joined, bringing the total number of federations under the umbrella to 209. The members have been clustered into 5 continental associations; African Swimming Confederation, Swimming Union of the Americas, Asia Swimming Federation, European Swimming League, and Oceania Swimming Association.