Back to Glasgow, with great stars and a participation record
LEN celebrates the 20th edition of its top short-course meet with the top European stars of swimming and a new participation record as 49 nations have sent their respective teams to this upcoming European Short-Course Swimming Championships. After the tremendous success of the 2018 European Championships, Glasgow once more plays host of a top LEN event, becoming the 6th city in history to stage both the long-course and short-course continental showcase.
At the opening press conference in the magnificent Tollcross Swimming Centre, LEN Bureau Member and Swimming Liaison Pia Holmen, on behalf of President Paolo Barelli, thanked for the city of Glasgow for hosting another continental showcase in quick succession, just one and a half year after the a highly successful 2018 long-course European Championships. “As the head of the organising committee of the previous edition in Copenhagen 2017 I can tell you that this event is growing and has a positive impact both on the host city and the sport itself and we are happy to back to this wonderful pool” she said.
GlasgowLife and LOC leader Billy Garett recalled the great success of the multi-sport Europeans in 2018 and proudly talked about a fine list of special awards Glasgow received recently as a top destination for sport events and festivals. He added that the city had already been named the European Sports Capital for 2023.
In fact, Glasgow is the 6th member of the exclusive club of cities, which hosted both the long-course and short-course Europeans. The Scottish city joins Sheffield (1993 and 1998), Vienna (1995 and 2004), Helsinki (2000 and 2006), Istanbul (1999 and 2009) and Eindhoven (2008 and 2010).
LEN Executive Director Gianni Minervini shared the good news of having a new participation record with 49 nations competing (so far Netanya 2015 held that with 48). Gibraltar sent a team for the first time ever to the Europeans where once more 220.000 euros are up for grabs for the top 12 performers both among the men and women (plus a bonus of €10.000 for each new WR set, and €5.000 for the European marks).
LEN Operational Manager Marco Birri highlighted the presence the continent’s greatest stars in the event as among the six Olympic champions of Europe from Rio 2016 three will be present here: Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, Pernille Blume of Denmark and Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy. As well as five of this summer’s 10 world champions of the continent: besides Paltrinieri and Hosszu, Glasgow 2019 shall feature Federica Pellegrini, Simone Quadarella both from Italy and Boglarka Kapas from Hungary and altogether 13 title-holders from Copenhagen.
At the end of the event, the organisers presented a nice cake to celebrate that this was going to be the 20th edition of the European Short-Course Swimming Championships.
The meet shall be broadcasted live in 25 countries and LEN offers free live streaming with English commentary from the championships.
Quotes from the athletes
In the second part of the event, four of the leading swimmers talked to the press. Here is a short summary what they had to say.
Shioban O’Connor (GBR), Olympic silver medallist, European champion
“We are all thrilled and happy to be back to Glasgow, the entire team is excited to race in front of our fans again. We all have fond memories from here, my fondest once perhaps are from the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I have no specific plans for this championships, I just wish to have fun and enjoy racing in the next five days.”
Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA), Olympic, World and European champion
“The 1500m is getting tougher and tougher, even though Florian (Wellbrock, world title-holder) is not here, we have Mykhailo (Romanchuk) who also beat me last year and other guys are also improving spectacularly. I’m looking forward to racing with them and hopefully having some better results than in 2018 which was not my best event.
There is no preference for either pool swimming and open water swimming. After Rio I decided to try something different, I enjoy open water, had some fine swims but as of now I’m here and focusing on the pool and this meet.”
Florent Manaudou (FRA), Olympic, World and European champion
“It’s great to be back this time as a swimmer. In 2018 I was here as a commentator, it was fun to follow the event from the stands but now I try to have some fun in the pool as well. I see that I’m progressing, I enjoyed swimming in the autumn but I won’t make any prediction for this event. I just want to have a good time here and I’m sure we’ll have.”
Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS), European champion, set a WR in Glasgow 2018
“I cannot tell you if I am able to repeat that performance. For sure, the European Championships in Glasgow was a fantastic event for me but this summer I had some problems so I couldn’t deliver the same good results. Now I’m fine, I work hard, have good practices, that’s all I need to perform well again.”