London Aquatics Centre inspires European Championships medals
- Credit: Ryan Bangs
Swimmers and divers will be determined to get their hands on one of the London Aquatics Centre-shaped medals in what is the last major tournament before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Between May 9 and 22, more than 900 of the continent’s best synchronised swimmers, divers and swimmers will be entertaining the crowd.
The British diving squad has already been announced, with regulars to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park able to recognise a familiar face in Tom Daley.
The 21-year-old, who trains at the venue, said: “It is really exciting to have the European Championships in May in London in my home pool.
“It is great to think that the London 2012 pool has such a great legacy and we can now hold major world events.”
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The championships will be the largest event held at the London Aquatics Centre since 2012.
Diver Jack Laugher hopes the home crowd will spur him and the rest of the squad on.
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“It makes you feel good when you are competing in front of a crowd so I am really looking forward to the championships,” he said.
“I love the London Aquatics Centre, it is one of my favourite pools and hopefully a really great atmosphere will make everyone on the British team dive well.”
Many of those set to participate have good memories of the venue.
These include Natalia Ishchenko, who took Olympic gold in the synchronised swimming for Russia alongside Svetlana Romashina.
She said: “We were very pleased to know that the upcoming European Championships will take place in London and, what is more, in the Olympic pool.
“It was a lucky venue for us in 2012 and we have so many pleasant associations with the place.”
The 192 medals on offer throughout the championships have been designed by Touch of Ginger, the same company responsible for the 2015 Rugby World Cup medals.
One man who is keen for a new addition to his ever-growing collection is Laszlo Cseh.
The Hungarian is the most decorated swimmer in the championship’s history, having won 12 gold, three silver and four bronze in seven appearances.
He said: “Though my ultimate target is Rio this year, I definitely wish to be in a great shape for London.
“I’m going for my 20th long-course European medal, preferably a gold, and it would be great to clinch it there.
“It’s also going to be a perfect opportunity to erase the bad memories from the 2012 Olympics and to gain some fantastic new experience which will help me to be in the shape of my life for Rio.”
Tickets are still available from euroaquatics2016.london/tickets, with prices starting at £10.