A Look Ahead at the Open Water Swimming European Championships
Swimming at the 2018 European Aquatics Championships – Women
To provide an example: Rome (LEN) With European swimmers having recently dominated the open water scene, the 2022 European Aquatics Championships should be nothing less than world class.
The second week will feature seven competitions at “Lido di Ostia,” a coastal resort 30 kilometres from Rome’s city centre that is easily accessible by train, bus, or two major highways. Twenty-one FINA Member Federations from across Europe have entered.
Despite this, it is Quite Unlikely that any of the Athletes will have time to see the Ostia Antica Roman Ruins.
These grounds, the first Roman settlement established in the seventh century BC by the legendary king Ancus Marcius, together with Pompei, constitute the largest archaeological site in the world, covering an area of 150 hectares.
Several national events and swimming contests for lifesaving were held at Lido di Ostia prior to the 2009 FINA World Championships, with the goal of fostering water culture by teaching people how to bathe safely and effectively, thus lowering the number of deaths caused by drowning.
Strong winds and high waves have already forced LEN and the LOC to reschedule the original programme, so the lifesaver community may play a crucial role at the open water events.
Their representatives act as hostesses at the medal ceremonies, and Lea and Gastone, the two living rescue dogs, are the official mascots of the Championships.
This brings to mind the 2009 FINA World Championships, where a massive storm devastated crucial elements of the temporary infrastructure the night before the competition, forcing the postponement of the open water events by two days.
Open-Water Swimming: A Preview
Young and talented swimmers, including Hungary’s Peter Galicz (3rd in the 25-kilometer race) and Israel’s David Betlehem (5th in the 10-kilometer race), the Netherlands’ Marcel Schouten (4th in the 25-kilometer race) and Lars Bottelier (6th in the 25-kilometer race), and Austria’s Jan Hercog (9th in the 10-kilometer race), who achieved the best-ever Austrian open-water result at a World Championships meet, all competed at Lake Lupa
However, the 2019 world and 2021 Olympic champion, Florian Wellbrock, is not included. Wellbrock’s season was derailed when he contracted a Covid infection shortly after the World Championships concluded in July.
He finished fifth in the 1500-meter freestyle, demonstrating that he was not yet back in top form.
Italy is Rooting for “King Greg” Paltrinieri in the Men’s Competitions.
The majority of the competitors who competed for world titles five weeks ago at Lake Lupa in the northern Budapest metropolitan region will be there.
And “King Greg” is the clear favourite among them. Relatively recently, Gregorio Paltrinieri won the 10km in the FINA World Championships in a fantastic race.
He also won the 1500m pool event a few days previously. Greg is the reigning World Champion in both the 5 and 10-kilometer distances, but there is a small but formidable army of challengers that will be present to overthrow his kingdom.
Among Paltrinieri’s toughest competitors are the likes of French world champion Marc Antoine Olivier and Hungarian legend Kristof Rasovszky, whose style is better suited to the harsher seas that Ostia offers presently.
Fans may also look forward to interesting races in the 25km event, which will include the Frenchman Axel Reymond, who won back-to-back world championship championships in 2017 and 2019, but had his historic triple thwarted by the Italian Dario Verani over the last metres in Budapest.
With barely 1.2 seconds separating first and second, Verani will be hoping to defend his championship in front of his home fans.
Beck, Boy, Muller, Gabrielleschi, and van Rouwendaal are the top Contenders in the women’s Competitions.
Many top-tier female athletes compete in their respective events. Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands), the 2016 Olympic champion and the Olympic runner-up in Tokyo, will be the top selection to win multiple events, including the 5 and 10 kilometre races and the 25 kilometre race, in which she won bronze at the World Championships thanks to a strong finish.
A number of formidable rivals, including Germany’s Leonie Beck and Lea Boy, who placed second at the 2022 World Championships in the 10 and 25 kilometres, France’s Aurelie Muller, who placed second at the 2021 European Championships, Hungary’s Anna Olasz, who placed second at the 2021 European Championships, Italy’s Giulia Gabrielleschi, who placed third at the 5 kilometres, and Italy’s Barbara Pozzobon, who placed fourth at the 25 kilometres (4th 25km).
When it comes to the women’s competitions, each of these athletes is among the best in the world.
Sunday’s Team event was an Emotional high Point.
Incorporated into the European schedule in 2008, the team event is a fantastic venue for displaying cooperation and camaraderie among competitors.
The Dutch defeated Germany and France to claim victory in the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow.
Italy won the European Championships in Budapest in 2021, and Germany became the new FINA World Champion in 2022 (despite losing Olympic Champion Wellbrock).
It’s possible, though unlikely, that this event will be the emotional high point of the Championships’ closing ceremony on August 21. At the very least, the complete schedule should be held, despite the wind.
Theo Druenne, representing Monaco, is one of the 21 national teams in the tournament. Druenne qualified for the Olympics, although only for the swimming events, and he placed 28th in the 1500-meter freestyle in the Tokyo Games. He competed in the 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyle events at the 2021 Budapest Summer Olympics.