There was a bit of an understandable pall cast across the Debrecen Swimming Pool Complex on the first day of the 2012 European Championships, as tribute was paid to the late Alexander Dale Oen.
The first day of this meet would have been his 27th birthday, but he tragically passed away during a training trip in the United States three weeks ago. Not only was this his birthday, but it appropriately enough was the prelims and semi-finals of the 100 breaststroke, though Dale Oen had the intention of skipping this meet to rest an ailing shoulder.
His teammates are all wearing black caps with the initials “A.D.O.” ascribed on the side in his honor.
The organizing party in Debrecen, called to action on very short duty, has by all counts done a masterful job putting together this championship, and the tribute they gave for Dale Oen is a big part of that. Before the start of the finals session, the video monitor ran a tribute video to the fallen swimmer, honoring his accomplishments and his life, both in and out of the pool, in a moving remembrance of an incredibly popular swimmer, and an incredibly gracious man.
We are awaiting pictures of the tribute, but local internet connections are bogged down.