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June 22 Is European Aquatics Day

Jan 16, 2013  - Craig Lord

The European Swimming League (LEN) has invited the European swim community to form a network of aquatic events across the continent on June 22 for an inaugural European Aquatics Day.

Under the banner "Jump in and make a Splash", the continental federation for aquatic sports of swimming - pool and open water - diving, water polo and synchronised swimming, LEN is calling on all 51 members states to organise "a special event for their elite athletes, in conjunction with a mass-sport event, involving as many participants as possible".

Magyar has already led the way: one of Europe's power houses in polo and swimming, Hungary will host its Aquatics Day on June 22, promising "the wettest" and "biggest" event of the year as "tens of thousands" of folk take the plunge in lakes and pools on a weekend when LEN hosts the European Open Water Cup in Lake Balaton, Hungary hosts its national swim championships and Fured hosts a mass-participation swim marathon.

Patrons of the Hungarian special include queen and king of Hungarian swim history, Krisztina Egerszegi, a five times Olympic gold medal winner and one of only three swimmers, with Dawn Fraser (AUS) and Michael Phelps (USA) to have won the same Olympic crown at three Games (200m back, 1988-96), and Tamas Darnyi, double Olympic medley champion in both 1988 and 1992. 

LEN lists amongst its ambitions for the day:

  • to put aquatic sports in focus
  • to encourage people to take part in sport
  • to promote LEN and its partners

In addition, LEN is asking participating national federations to provide video footage of their respective events for contribution to a documentary covering all events across Europe, which will be used to promote aquatic sports.

The governing body urges those members who cannot manage to stage an event on June 22 to find another date on which to join the exercise. "It’s better to hold it on a different date than not to have any event at all," says the federation.

Among sound suggestions for members planning events are:

  • involve the most well-known athletes of your country (both from the past and the present)
  • involve your country’s celebrities, stars of other sports to take part 
  • encourage your local media to cover the event
  • engage patrons, "great stars of the past or even political leaders"
  • ask your well-known coaches to give advice 
  • communicate on a constant basis
  • Use the LEN logo for the event and add a local twist

Organisers of the best three aquatic jamborees, as judged by LEN, will be offered the chance to host special events of the LEN Development Programme.