This issue covers mostly the European Championships, one of two major international competitions this summer. The other being the Pan Pacific Championships at the end of August for all the other countries not part of LEN (Ligue Europeen de Natation), which we'll cover in a future issue.
The Europeans have been held since 1926 and are now held every second year (originally it was every four). It was a seven day swimming competition, with four additional days where open water, diving and synchronized also were held. All of it was covered on our website with daily updates after prelims and finals. Daily television on Eurosport for the duration of the championships in 31 countries gave exposure to millions of daily viewers.
The emergence of Pieter van den Hoogenband (NED) as the big star of the championships was one of the highlights. His races against Alexander Popov (RUS) in the 50 and 100 free were some of the most memorable in our sport and his relay legs were the fastest ever.
World and European records tumbled, mostly in the stroke 50s, new events on the program. The implementation of semi-finals met with mixed reaction. The extra round of swimming is a lot harder than expected. At least one medallist missed the cut for the semis, only a scratch allowed him to continue and eventually win the silver. In another instance a semi-final in the 50 breast for women was just minutes ahead the final of the 200 in the same stroke. A difficult double. Several prominent swimmers scratched from an event where they were potential winners due to the schedule conflict. It would seem that what might be acceptable at the Olympic Games does not transfer successfully to lower levels of competitions.
TAG times include all provincial age group championships, but due to time constrains do NOT include the Eastern Cup or Junior Nationals. We'll have these two and the Senior Nationals in our next issue.
The final TOP list is published on pages 8-9. Plan now to take part next season.
Wayne Goldmsmith and Judy Goss write on the basics, especially aimed at younger swimmers.
Summer Nationals and Pan Ams will be the main feature of our next issue.