European Aquatics Championships

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European Aquatics Championships

Most people are familiar with watersport competitions when it comes to the Olympics, but there are regional competitions that often hold just as much or more prestige in the competing areas. The European Aquatics Championships are one such competition. They act as a way for the athletes of Europe to test their skills every two years. The events that people compete in are less varied than the Olympics, but they offer a good look into the athletes who may turn up at the larger competition in the future. This year the competition is being held in London, England. Traditionally, the host city changes countries or cities every time it is held. The last time London hosted the competition was in 1938, but the United Kingdom itself did host it in 1993 in another city. Regardless, its presence in London makes it an excellent event for those interested in aquatic competitions.

What Is It?
True to its name, the competition is about water-based athletic competitions. The competition is open to qualifying athletes from all European countries that are members of the European Swimming League that choose to compete. Most of these nations represent continental Europe, but island European nations, both large and small, also compete. Additionally, Israel competes within the league due to being grouped as part of Europe in Olympic regulations. More members have joined the European Swimming League since its founding in 1927 and this has lead to a larger scale to the competitions over time. The growth is potentially part of why water polo was split off from the competitions in the European Aquatics Championships and separated into its own competition. The Aquatics Championship is actually just one of many competitions organized by the larger league.

Swimming

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The Events
Traditionally, this competition involved five events, but the modern European Aquatics Championships only have four. The four available events still in the competition are swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, and open water swimming. Each event has men’s, women’s, and mixed competitions to offer everyone a chance to compete in each event. The swimming event focuses on a course in a long pool. Each of the events are relatively self-explanatory, but it should be noted that each of the events are broad categories. Within each of the event types, there are several sub-events representing various kinds of each competition. The winners of the events are tallied at the end of the competition to determine which country provided the most capable athletes that year. Depending on the event, some athletes use this as a means to test themselves before competing in the Olympics, but this typically depends on the scheduling of each event.

The London Aquatics Center
As this year’s venue, the London Aquatics Center offers plenty of space to hold the competitions. This wouldn’t be the first time that it was used for the purpose either. It was actually built as part of the Olympic Park to help London host the Olympics in 2012. As the remnant of the larger competition, the center is more than capable of serving the same for another level of competition. When not in use for competitions, the center itself is open to the public for use. It offers plenty of seating for major competitions as well as space for additional guests. It houses three pools of varying lengths and depths suitable for different types and levels of competition. Fortunately, the venue’s status as a former Olympic facility means it is relatively easy to find if you wish to enjoy watching the competition.

The European Aquatics Championships are are a good way for those missing the water competitions of the Olympics to enjoy the sports they enjoy so much at a high level of competition. Athletes come from around Europe and you’re sure to see many displays of athletic prowess over the course of the competition. This year the competition runs from the 9th of May through the 22nd. This gives anyone interested plenty of time to make it to the championships, but don’t forget to get a ticket if you expect to get inside.

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