LEN European Aquatics Championships: 16th-22nd May 2016
The swimming segment of the LEN European Aquatics Championships starts on Monday of next week. The 34 individual and 8 relay swimming events are to be held in Stratford, London at the London Aquatics Centre. Although the state of the art facility hosted Britain’s World Championship Swimming Trials last year for Kazan 2015, this will be the first time it has accommodated some of the world’s top international swimmers since London 2012 Games.
The United Kingdom haven’t had a European Aquatics Championships on their shores since 1993, and in testament to that the host nation have selected an impressive 42 strong team to battle against the rest of Europe’s elite. The Great Britain Team consists of the 26 Rio Olympians recently selected last month, complimented by 16 of Britain’s rising stars and juniors who show the most promise for big things in Tokyo 2020 and beyond. This competition is the perfect opportunity to give these fast developing swimmers experience on the international stage.
With such a large team of Senior and Junior swimmers it will be very interesting to see how the selectors choose which events each team member suits up for. There are only 4 births per nation in each event, and whilst some events are seemingly straight forward, others might see Target Tokyo swimmers getting the nod over their senior team mates.
What to expect from the Great Britain team? This question of performance, as you would expect, and as it should be, poses to be the most important and fascinating proposition to be asked of a team in their back yard.
The major factor that will affect the athletes of all teams is in fact the dates in which these European Champs are being held. Only a few weeks after most nations have just had their own Olympic Trials, and only 10 weeks out from the Olympics, coaches and swimmers have had to plan and gamble on what is the best solution and schedule to be at their best come Brazil. Some athletes will have held their tapers on; some will have gone back into heavy training; some will be on the wave of making their respective Olympic team; and for some it is a last chance to qualify for the summer. This leaves the audience unsure of what they might expect over the 7 days; one thing is for sure though all this uncertainty will result in a mouth-watering week of racing.
For the betting population out there…stay away from this one!