Olympic, World, European, Commonwealth and national champions from across Britain and the continent are celebrating the official ‘One Year to Go’ mark for the 33rd LEN European Aquatics Championships 2016 in London.
On May 9 2016 the curtain will rise on the biggest event to be held at the London Aquatics Centre at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with over 900 athletes expected to compete at the last major aquatics competition before Rio 2016.
And Britain’s reigning European 400m and 800m freestyle champion Jazmin Carlin, along with Germany’s Olympic 10m synchro silver medal winning diver Patrick Hausding and the UK’s No.1 synchronised swimmer Genevieve Randall, are relishing the chance to compete.
Britain last welcomed Europe’s long course elite in Sheffield in 1993 while London last acted as host city in 1938 at what is now Wembley Arena with registration for exclusive access to tickets for the 2016 edition now available on the official website www.euroaquatics2016.london.
Exactly ten non-disabled world records have been set in the pool at the London Aquatics Centre – the most recent Adam Peaty’s mark of 57.92 seconds on the way to the 100m breaststroke title at the British Championships in April, bettering the previous effort by 0.54.
Carlin herself collected the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle British titles last month to secure a place at this summer’s World Championships in Kazan and with ‘One Year to Go’ she admits the London Aquatics Centre gives her a confidence like no other pool.
“I’m really excited for the European Championships coming to London in a year’s time. I won my first European titles in Berlin in 2014 and there is no better place to try to defend them than in a home pool,” said Carlin.
“The London Aquatics Centre is an amazing venue and having a home crowd will hopefully push myself and the GB team to do great things. It was fantastic to have the British Championships back in the venue this year and the next time I swim competitively in the pool will be at the Europeans.
“It will be an incredible year of sport in 2016 and – along with this summer’s World Championships – racing against the best in Europe in London will be great preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympics Games.”
Europe’s elite divers are also fresh from competing at the London Aquatics Centre for the second time having claimed 12 medals at the latest leg of the FINA/NVC Diving World Series including Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley’s sensational gold in the 10m platform.
Germany’s reigning world 10m synchro champion Hausding claimed double silver in London last week and, with 23 European medals to his name including 11 gold, he is excited about returning to the capital in a year’s time.
He said: “The fans in Britain are very ambitious. When Tom [Daley] became world champion in 2009 he developed diving in Great Britain and it is great for us because we are getting more attention not just in Britain but other countries. That is something I am happy about because it makes it fun to dive and you see so many spectators cheering everyone on, not just the British.
“I am looking forward to London; the European Championships have become a little World Championships because of the great divers from Russia with Ilya Zakharov the Olympic champion, Jack Laugher – a two-time winner in the World Series this year – and a good French diver and a good Ukrainian diver.”
The LEN European Aquatics Championships 2016 will be delivered in partnership with British Swimming, London & Partners, LLDC and the Mayor of London and is part of the #EveryRoadtoRio campaign, helping Britain’s athletes prepare for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Britain’s leading synchronised swimmer Randall meanwhile made her major international debut at last year’s European Championships in Berlin, securing two top-ten finishes, and she is expecting plenty of history to be made at London 2016 – both personal and otherwise.
“Although it seems a long way off the 2016 Europeans will soon be here,” said Randall. “After competing in Berlin last year, which was a fantastic learning experience for my first senior competition as a junior, I am looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd.
“That will be a first for me and I know as a duet it will really drive us to do well. It will be great for my family – most of which have never seen me swim internationally – and my friends and also my club back in Bristol.