More than 5,000 participants in the historical ‘all-in’ edition
For the first time in its history, the European Masters Championships will welcome the continent’s top Masters athletes in all five disciplines. More than 5,000 participants will compete in four cities in the next two weeks.
The story began 31 years ago when Blackpool (GBR) hosted the first edition of the European Masters Championships in aquatics. Until 2013 every odd year welcomed the Masters community members in different cities, including Kranj in 2007.
After a little more than a decade – and a switch in the calendar which pushed the event to even years – Slovenia welcomes back the Masters, this time facing with a huge task as the organisers offered to stage the competitions of all five disciplines. Usually the water polo meet was a stand-alone event, but now all aquatics-loving Masters athletes are heading to Slovenia to compete for the medals in the different age categories.
According to the entries, more than 5,000 participants are to show their very best – 2,787 in swimming, 225 in artistic swimming, 79 in diving, 882 in water polo and 1104 in open water swimming.
The various events are to take place in four different venues. Kranj, also host of the 2003 European Water Polo Championships and the Masters WP Europeans in the same year, will stage the swimming and water polo events, the divers compete in Jesenice, the open water swimmers will race amidst picturesque settings in Lake Bled while the artistic swimmers perform their routines in Kamnik.
Two swimmers born in 1924 are the oldest entrants, Franz Zigon – racing in not less than five events! – and Vladimir Rabinovich, while 88-year old Elisabeth Lobsiger is the oldest female competitor, she entered three events.
The championships are staged in two weeks, the first half is devoted to diving and water polo while the other three sports shall be held on 2-8 September.