After the success of the Olympics in London in 2012 there has been a renewed interest in sport and fortunately, we now have facilities available which can host world-class events more than ever.
The London Aquatic Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was central to many dramatic sporting moments played out during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The centre was designed by architect Zaha Hadid and its stunning wave design provided the backdrop to many world records during 2012, including the dramatic swim of British Paralympian Ellie Simmonds into the history books, when she won two golds and set a World Record in the 400m freestyle.
Now anyone can enjoy swimming at the London Aquatic Centre, but with a seating capacity of 2,500, during May 2016 it’s been home to two world-class events, the LEN European Aquatics Championships and the European Masters Championships.
What Are the LEN Aquatics Championships?
These championships are run by LEN, the governing body for aquatics in Europe. Held in the spring every alternate year, they include four water based disciplines: swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and open water swimming, although the open water events are not held In Olympic years. The Masters championship is held for all entrants who are 25 years or older.
At the Press Conference at the start of the event, President Barelli of LEN highlighted that Europe is the strongest continent in aquatics and that the athletes have achieved great results in recent years, outnumbering all other continents in terms of titles and the number of overall medals earned. It, therefore, bodes well that the championships will be exciting events in all the disciplines.
In fact, Great Britain has already done well as one highlight was Tom Daley winning 3 medals, among them gold on the final day of diving. Daley who is still only 21 was ecstatic to win his third European 10m Platform title and the 1,700-strong crowd cheered him on to victory. His score of 570.40 was enough to claim gold, and he said it was the perfect boost ahead of the Rio Olympics later this year.
Ross Murdoch, amongst a whole host of other British medal winners, also did well as he claimed gold in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke. It remains to be seen what the final medal tally will be for the British team.
Getting London Swimming
As the championships are being held in the heart of London it was fitting that prior to the event the LEN European Aquatics Championships launched a project to get the capital swimming: Swim London 2016 – London Learns to Swim.
Surprisingly more than 21 percent of adults in England have never learned to swim, and this venture gave those in the communities closest to the London Aquatic Centre, in Hackney, Newham, Greenwich, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, the chance to take swimming lessons. Its aim was to invite at least 225 non-swimmers to get involved, with a 12-week group swimming course where all the participants were encouraged to support each other. A special highlight was that all those involved would then train for a special team relay which is being held at the Championships.
How Do I Find Out More About The LEN Aquatics Championships?
The event has a live tracker and is also being live streamed so you can catch up on all the events over on www.euroaquatics2016.london/. There are also still tickets available for some of the events, perfect if you want to experience the atmosphere live. The nearest underground station is Stratford with St. Pancras and King’s Cross the closest available mainline rail stations. You can also cycle, drive or if you want to arrive in style you could always travel by one of our bespoke charters.
The greater the level of support events such as these receive, in terms of visitor numbers, and with the superb facilities based at the Olympic Park, it is hoped that the UK will host more world-class events in the years to come. If that is also reflected in more people getting out and enjoying sport then it can only be a win-win situation.