31st European Swimming Championship: the First Day

Local News Sport

Below you can read the introductory press announcement and the report of the first day of European Swimming Championship, as it was published on the official website of the event.  Hungary is currently the Mecca of European swimming with its capital Budapest and its second-largest city Debrecen in the east (210,000 inhabitants). The country is hosting (long course) European Swimming Championships for the third time after 2006 and 2010 (Budapest), in Debrecen in 2012. As Budapest already staged the European Championships premiere in 1926 and again in 1958, Hungary and Budapest top the list of organising countries and venues.

As Budapest also hosted the 2005 European Junior Swimming Championships and Debrecen the 2007 European Short Course Swimming Championships, Tamas Gyarfas, the President of the Hungarian Swimming Association and LEN Vice President, said with a smile: “The score is currently 3-2 for Budapest in the 21st Century”. At the opening press conference, Debrecen’s Mayor Lajos Kosa offered to organise further LEN Championships.

Debrecen has already proven to be professional organisers. “We had just 69 days to organise this event”, Lajos Kosa explained. “We would like to thank all responsible officials and particularly the many volunteers”, said Nory Kruchten and added: “We would gladly return to Debrecen for another European Championships.”
The participation of 550 swimmers representing 44 of the 51 LEN Member Federations at the 31st European Swimming Championships in Debrecen is a “fantastic result” according to Sven Egil Folvik. The General Secretary of the European Swimming Federation (LEN) added: “More than 600 accredited media representatives also emphasise the great interest in Europe.” 35 TV stations will broadcast from Debrecen. “The German public TV channels ARD and ZDF have 71 staff accredited”, Sven Egil Folvik disclosed. A total of more than 2500 people have received accreditation so far, among them approximately 440 volunteers.

“We may hope for great European Championships, particularly as some nations will use the Europeans as national trials for the Olympic Games in London.” The participation of a few older swimmers, such as Sweden’s Lars Froelander, who will turn 38 on Saturday, would prove that today swimmers can compete longer than in the past. “That’s really remarkable”, said the General Secretary.

In the first final session, Hungary’s women made the host nation cheer with pride when they won gold and silver in the 400m individual medley on the opening day of the 31st European Swimming Championships in Debrecen. European Record holder Katinka Hosszu finished first in 4:33.76 minutes and Zsuzsanna Jakabos second (4:35.68). “I had only two or three days of rest before the Championships. The 400m individual medley is an event that hurts. I didn’t expect to swim below 4:35 minutes“, said Hosszu.
Germany tops the medal table with two gold medals after four events. World Record holder Paul Biedermann triumphed in the 400m freestyle (3:47.48) and the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team with Britta Steffen, Silke Lippok, Lisa Vitting, and Daniela Schreiber (3:37.98) also took the gold and the title. France’s men won the 4x100m freestyle relay (3:13.55) fifty years after their last title in this event in Leipzig 62 at the 10th edition of the European Swimming Championships.

(Source: musz.hu, Photos: Zsolt Czeglédi, Tibor Illyés)

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