The Founding of LEN

The first meeting of interested countries, which took place during the ‘experimental’ European Championships at the Hotel Bristol, was conducted by Erik Bergvall (Sweden), President of the Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur. Emile Drigny, from France, was appointed Secretary to the meeting and 11 nations were represented at the congress with one observing country.

The meeting attendees at this first ever European gathering were from Germany, Mr W. Binner & Mr Behrens; Austria, Mr Duhmkholer; Belgium, Mr A. Delahaye & Mr R. de Raeve; Spain, Mr Casanovas; France, Mr E. G. Drigny; Greece, Mr Protopoulos; Hungary, Dr L. Donáth; Italy, Alexander Jar; Poland, Mr Th. Sémadeni & Mr Facher; Sweden, Mr E. Bergvall; and Czechoslovakia, Mr L. Hauptmann & Mr Hofbauer. Later correspondence from the Netherlands to LEN indicates that the Netherlands may also have been at the meeting but for some reason they were omitted from contemporary reports. Britain’s reticence with LEN was demonstrated by the fact that its representative, John Hodgson, assisted unofficially at the meeting but nothing more.

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The Italian team at the 1931 Europeans led by Paolo Costoli with Italie sign followed by trainer Goffredo Barbacci with flag (Photo reproduced from Nuotando nuotando quasi un secolo passo, Bruno Beneck Federazione Italiana Nuoto)
The list of world records in those days was extensive and, in the year LEN was formed, a number of Europeans not only held the European record but the world record as well:
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Jönköping Opening Ceremony
(Photo by Gunnar Werner)
There were three important decisions made at the 1926 meeting

 – firstly, that the European Championships would be held every four years, alternating with the Olympics; second, that an exception would be made for 1927 when the second championships would be held in Bologna, Italy and finally, it was decided that a constitution for a proposed new organisation, eventually to be called the European Swimming League, be established in 1927.

Originally some countries had supported the idea that the Championships be held every year and the plan was to hold events in Germany in 1929 and Belgium in 1930. Ultimately it was decided that this would be too expensive. The constitution drawn up at the first meeting in Bologna can be found on page 27. In 1927, it was determined that the objects of LEN would be to:

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• Fix the dates and events for the European Swimming, Diving and Water Polo Championships

• Fix dates and venues of international water polo tournaments

• Pass European records

• Promote any movements for the benefit of European swimming

At the time LEN was formed, several associations had already been in existence for a number of years. Of the twelve countries which attended the initial meeting on the 19th August 1926 in Budapest, 6 federations had been in existence prior to 1900. Britain attended as observers and not participants. A number of federations have either been formed or re-formed since. Some, such as France, have changed their names. France was originally formed as La Fédération Française de Natation et de Sauvetage but the mention of life saving was changed in 1937 to read Fédération Française de Natation.

 

In the 1930’s, the LEN Bureau consisted of the President, two Vice Presidents, a combined Secretary-Treasurer and four members. There was also the option to co-opt one further member who would normally be the organiser of the coming European Championship or International Tournament.

In Bologna it was decided that the first LEN Bureau be comprised of Messrs E. Bergvall (Sweden) as President, G. Hearn (Great Britain), who was also Secretary of FINA, W. Binner (Germany), Van Der Heyden (Belgium), E. Drigny (France) and Dr L. Donáth (Hungary).

By the time of the Extraordinary Congress in Amsterdam on 2nd August 1928, the personnel were beginning to change. It now consisted of Germany, Mr Binner & Mr Nussbaum; Austria, Mr Eichberg & Mr Morberger; Belgium, Mr de Raeve & Mr Frick; France, Mr Drigny & Mr Frette; Greece, Mr Pteris; Netherlands, Mr Slop & Mr Blitz; Hungary, Dr Donáth & Mr Speisegger; Sweden, Mr Bergvall & Mr Ahlstrom and Czechoslovakia, Mr Hauptmann & Mr Hofbauer. Although minuted as representing Netherlands, ‘G. Blitz’ may well have been Gérard Blitz, who won silver medals in the 1924 and 1928 Olympic water polo, and was attending as a representative of Belgium. This is uncertain.

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Opening ceremony at Wembley 1938

The relationship with FINA remained close and, in 1931, LEN19 voted unanimously for a silver cup in honour of George Hearn of Britain, the founder of FINA, to be known as the Hearn Cup. The cup was to be presented to the winners of the 4 × 200 metres freestyle relay between Europe and the USA being swum for the first time following the Olympics in 1932 in Los Angeles. The LEN Handbook was to be written in English, French and German. It was determined that each federation would receive 2 free copies and that other copies would be sold for 1 shilling 6 pence20.

During the 1930’s and ‘40’s, countries would normally meet every four years. The minutes of other, earlier meetings were lost in Magdeburg during World War Two. This has made it difficult to determine whether there were any meetings in between Congresses. Having joined LEN in 1931, Britain started to become more involved and, in 1934, Harold Fern became President in succession to the second LEN President, Walther Binner (Germany)21. Ernest Drigny (France) and Ladislav Hauptmann, (Czechoslovakia) became Vice-Presidents with Leo Donáth, (Hungary), as Secretary. At the same meeting in Magdeburg where these appointments were made, the members of LEN stood in a minute’s silence on hearing of the death of Marshall Von Hindenburg, President of Germany – the only recorded occasion that LEN has celebrated the life and death of a politician in that way.

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Harold Fern, long time officer of FINA and LEN, seen here with his devoted personal assistant, Gladys Writer
 
At this time, it was one of the conditions of organising the European Championships that the organising committee would both take on the financial responsibility of organising the championships and pay LEN a 2% royalty on the gross income from the championships. This financial ‘responsibility’ included the fact that four nations from the 1st division were to be invited, although it was not defined as to what ‘1st division’ meant. Any competing nation was to be reimbursed for the following – passports and visas, 2nd class return railway tickets, lodgings and meals ‘in a good middle class hotel for the duration of the championships plus 24 hours previously and 12 hours afterwards’22.
An officials meeting during the European Championships in Magdeburg in 1934. Of those people that can be identified, facing in the glasses is Harold Fern and standing behind with the cigarette, Ladislav Hauptmann. The person standing to the far left is likely to be Emile Drigny
An officials meeting during the European Championships in Magdeburg in 1934. Of those people that can be identified, facing in the glasses is Harold Fern and standing behind with the cigarette, Ladislav Hauptmann. The person standing to the far left is likely to be Emile Drigny

Prior to the War, as now, the host for the next championship would be announced at the preceding event. LEN now awards the Championships to the host city which has the most appropriate financial and organisational resources. In the early years, there was an arrangement that if there was a tie in the voting in support of two potential host cities, the deciding factor would be the country that had received the most points in the Cup of Europe at the preceding championships. This linked the swimming performance of the potential host country to that of their ability to organise the Championships.

One of the most important early events for LEN was the Count Klebelsberg Cup. This event was organised from 1929 onwards but lost its importance in the 1940’s. Essentially, the Cup, which was played on a league basis, was staged between the leading international water polo teams from Europe and was considered second only to the European Championship itself. The tournament invitees were the previous trophy winner, the teams placed 2nd and 3rd at the previous tournament, the Olympic Champions and the European Champions (providing that these teams were not among the teams mentioned as being one of the first three at the previous championships). In all, 6 teams were invited on each occasion. The Cup was founded by the Italian sports gazette, ‘Nemzeti Sport’ and the Hungarian Swimming Association. It was agreed that it would become the permanent property of any nation achieving 30 points based on 10 points for 1st, 7 for 2nd, 5 for 3rd, 3 for 4th, 2 for 5th and 1 for 6th23.

In 1936, a LEN Extraordinary Congress24 was held in Budapest to consider a proposal from Britain that evening sessions be introduced for the 5th European Championships in London in 1938. 7 of the 8 Bureau members met again only 9 days later in Berlin25 in order to discuss the possibility of introducing a new water polo competition, the Horthy Water Polo Cup, to be played in 1937. They decided to award the hosting of the event to Hungary by 4 votes to 2, 1 person abstaining.

The LEN Bureau meeting in Brussels in December 1945 was a sombre occasion. LEN had not met since the outbreak of the War and its political aftermath had had a huge impact on the member federations. Some member countries had ceased to exist whilst there were other new nations that needed to be considered for potential affiliation. While a certain amount of swimming had continued in the USA, there had been very little in Europe. The challenge for LEN was how to put European swimming back together again and, in Brussels, it was decided to start there and then. The decision was very quickly made to hold the European Championships in Monaco in 1947.
1934 British men's team led by Harold Fern
1934 British men’s team led by Harold Fern

The 1945 meeting, which was held without Harold Fern and Ladislav Hauptmann, was also sombre because the death was commemorated of Dr. Leo Donáth, the ‘father’ of LEN26, who had died in 1941. With the death of Donáth and the World War in mind, the subject of a ‘Gold book’ was discussed. The idea was that the book would provide members with the opportunity to send names of those who had performed heroic deeds during the wartime hostilities. There was also considerable discussion about the LEN archives which had been lost in Magdeburg during the War and how to find them.

The story about the LEN archives has never really been clear. During the War, they were kept by Rudolf Otto Brewitz, a German member of the LEN Bureau. It appears that they disappeared towards the end of the War when the Soviets moved into the eastern part of Germany. Brewitz, who was born on March 7th in 1894 in Magdeburg, died in 1976. He had been the water polo coach to Hellas Magdeburg and the German team between 1930 and 1933. He was also a Vice President of the Deutschland Schwimm Verband between 1933 and 1945 and a member of the FINA Bureau from 1936 to 1944. Among other activities, he played a part in the organisation of 1936 Olympics. With the help of the Soviet Embassy in The Hague, Jan De Vries (Netherlands), LEN Secretary in 1945, managed to regain the archives but many of the records had disappeared without trace.

At the next LEN Bureau Meeting in 1946, it was reported that a poor start to recovering the archives had been made and that the archives had been very largely spoiled27. The LEN Bureau met again quite soon afterwards, the main feature of this being Harold Fern’s resistance to the confirmation of European records made in Germany during the war28. Ultimately this resistance was unsuccessful and a number of records set in a number of different countries during the war were approved. LEN was also struggling to fund its activities.

1934 British women’s team flanked by Fern
1934 British women’s team flanked by Fern

The Secretary reported that he was in touch with 18 countries, all of which were finding it difficult to transfer money around Europe after the War29. It was also agreed that all sporting relations with Germany and Italy would cease until the FINA Congress. It was felt that the decision not to hold the first European Championships immediately after the War and to defer them until 1947, by which time there would have been time for further recovery, was a good idea

The European Records set during this period were as follows: Bjorn Borg, Sweden, 200 metres freestyle, 2:10.8, Berlin, 1st February 1942; N. Tatos, Hungary, 400 metres freestyle, 4:46.4, Norrköping, 28th August 1941; Alfred Nakache, France, 100 metres breaststroke, 1:09.4, Toulouse, 21st June 1941 and 1:08.6, Toulouse, 14th February 1942; Bjorn Borg, 200 metres backstroke, 2:26.9, Norrköping, 14th September 1939; and in women’s events, Ragnhild Hveger, Denmark, 400 metres freestyle, 5:05.4, Svendborg, 8th September 1940 and 5:00.1, Copenhagen, 15th September 1940, F. Caroen, Belgium, 500 metres freestyle, 6:28.4, 3rd January 1940, Ragnhild Hveger, 6:27.4, Copenhagen; Ragnild Hveger, 800 metres freestyle, 10:52.5, 13th August 1941; Ragnild Hveger, 1500 metres freestyle, 21:10.1, Helsingor, 11th August 1940 and 20:57.0, Copenhagen, 20th August 1941; G. Grass, Germany, 100 metres breaststroke, 1:19.8, Leipzig, 9th May 1943; Anni Kapell, Germany, 200 metres breaststroke, 2:55.5, 19th March 1941; 100 metres backstroke, Cor Kint, Netherlands, 1:10.9, Rotterdam and 200 metres backstroke, Rotterdam, 2:38.8, 26th November 1939. None of these records were recognised until LEN reformed after the War.

The only death of a competitor at a European Championships occurred in Monaco in 1947 when the young British freestyle swimmer, Nancy Riach, contracted polio and died in a Monaco Hospital. It was a great shock and the LEN Congress stood in one minute’s silence in her memory during the Congress Meeting following the Championships30. The start of the Championships had already commemorated one passing when all of the teams stood in two minutes silence in memory of Dr. Leo Donáth. In 1953, it was decided to institute a LEN medal. This exists to this day31.

The fact that three countries made a bid for the 1950 European Championships – Spain (Barcelona), Hungary (Budapest) and Italy (Rome) was an indication that European swimming was slowly starting to recover32. It was during the same meeting in London in 1948 that LEN decided to divide up the roles of Treasurer and Secretary with Harold Fern (Great Britain) becoming Treasurer and Bertil Sällfors (Sweden), Secretary. The agreed federation affiliation fee was £3(English). The minutes of meetings were written in English on this occasion but more often than not, they were also written in French.

LEN was still finding it hard to obtain affiliation fees. Fern reported that six countries had not paid their affiliations33. This was to be a re-occurring theme for the next 30 years. In 1949, Germany was re-affiliated to LEN34.

By 1950, the amount that a European Championship organizing committee had to pay to LEN was 4% of the gross income and, in the case of the federation promoting the European Water Polo Championships, 1%. LEN rules also stated that whilst the Congress would continue to be held every four years, the Bureau should meet every year35. The Bureau still consisted of 8 people with a quorum of 3 representatives.
At this time, the European Championships had to be limited to 8 days between the 3rd Sunday in August and the 2nd Sunday in September36. The formula for deciding the host nation for the European Championships remained the same. There was one change; the organising federation had to guarantee the expenses of 100 competitors and 10 officials. Gilt medals and diplomas were also traditionally given by the organising hosts. Any competitor in the European Championships had to have resided in Europe for 6 months prior to the event and be a citizen of the country he or she was representing. In water polo, the number of participating teams had increased to 8 although there was provision for less to play if necessary. A group system with each team playing the others continued.
Hungary, which was taking part in a concurrent event, did not take part in the 1950 European Championships in Vienna37. Just two years later, Hungary was Europe’s top nation at the Olympic Games. This was repeated, particularly in the women’s events, at the 1954 European Championships.
The most striking feature in the LEN Rules and Regulations has been the consistency of the laws. There was hardly any change right through to the 1970’s. This was not necessarily because LEN did not like change but had everything to do with the fact that LEN had limited itself to organising the European Swimming, Diving and Water Polo Championships and, on the whole, these events worked well. The financial coffers were hardly full and this had a bearing on the amount of activity which LEN could enter into. One rule which did change was a decision that if 5 countries called for a special meeting of the Congress by writing to the LEN Secretary, a special congress would need to be held within 2 months of notification38. The 1950–54 LEN Handbook stated that the LEN President now had an extra, casting vote should any of the voting result in a tie.
As swimming training methods were being stepped up, competitive standards were rapidly improving. This was a golden period, particularly for the Hungarian team. At the same meeting39 in 1953, 17 European Records were approved. The venue for the European Swimming Championships continued to be determined only a year ahead and it was decided in Nijmegen that the next championships would be held in Turin. The following year, this practice changed when Budapest was awarded the 1958 Championships. At a meeting the following week40, the concept of the LEN Medal and its design was approved. In 1954, LEN maintained its tradition of holding a LEN Bureau meeting followed by a Congress during the European Championships. The Championships normally presented an opportunity to hold the Congress because everyone was gathered together. Synchronised swimming, which had started its life under the guise of fancy or ornamental swimming in the 1800’s, was striving for wider, potentially competitive recognition. Approval was given for a demonstration of synchronised swimming to be held before the start of the next European Championships in 1958.

The most significant decision in 1954 was that the LEN Bureau would be increased from 8 to 10 members. The Bureau, in the future, was to consist of the president, 3 vice presidents, a secretary, a treasurer and 4 members41. At this meeting, René de Raeve, Belgium, retired as President and Jan de Vries, Netherlands, was unanimously accepted as his successor.
The financial responsibility for the European Championships remained with the host city and a 4% royalty was to be paid to LEN. From now on, if more than two countries were to make a bid to host the European Championships, the host cities with the least number of Congress votes would be excluded one by one until the vote came down to the final 2 cities. In the event of a tie between these 2 cities, then the city which had gained the most points in the last European Championship would be declared the winner. Entries for relay races could include 2 reserves and 4 reserves could be named for the water polo teams42. It was legislated that entries could be changed but had to be done so, in writing, to the LEN Secretary not less than 10 days before the Championships.
The idea of the LEN Calendar Conference dates from 1957 and we have the German Democratic Republic Swimming Federation to thank for its eventual introduction. In a meeting in Zagreb, the DDR suggested that there should be a meeting of representatives from all affiliated federations during which the international swimming programme could be determined43. The idea was initially rejected. At the start of the same meeting, the Bureau stood in silence in memory of Emile Drigny, who had recently died.

During the European Championships in 1958, the LEN Bureau debated the case of 2 swimmers who had moved from East Germany to West Germany and had been immediately given citizenship. For a number of years after the War, Germany competed as a combined team but, by this time, the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany were recognised as two entities. LEN decided to refer this particular case to FINA44.

The following day, at the LEN Congress45, Béla Rajki was elected President in his home city of Budapest. Harold Fern was voted as Honorary Life President replacing Emile Drigny. The death of A. Casalove from Italy who was half way through his term as a member of the Bureau, was reported at the meeting held in Leipzig in 196146.

East Germany again suggested the idea of a Calendar Conference at the LEN Congress in the Hungarian capital. This was the first time the expression was used47. After a debate, it was decided to continue to arrange events in the first instance, by post.

Interestingly, the next meeting of the LEN Bureau in Berlin discussed issues concerning events and dates. There had been a mix up with the dates of Coppa Italia in Italy and the Bureau had to consider postponing the event until 1963. Ultimately, the Bureau agreed to let the event stand48. The discussion further highlighted the need for a fixtures conference. The dates of the next European Championships in 1962 in Leipzig were also discussed. The Northern Countries Federation suggested that there should be a separate European diving championship which would be held in Olympic year but this was turned down.

The Leipzig Congress in 1962 made some further significant decisions. It was agreed that the full costs of meetings were to be met by LEN, which was temporarily in a slightly better financial position. It was re-confirmed that LEN Bureau members would need to be nominated by the countries from which they heralded. It was also decided to publish a LEN Bulletin.

The Soviet Union proposed that a resolution made by the International Olympic Committee regarding the avoidance of political influence should be adopted by LEN and this was confirmed by the Congress. It was decided that the next European Championships would be held in Utrecht. Utrecht had been the only bid. After many years of service to LEN, Harold Fern resigned as Treasurer49 and received plaudits accordingly. Fern was replaced by another Briton, Gregory Matveieff.

At the 1962 Championships, the European, Bredius, Fern and Behrens Cups were still being competed for as part of the Championships. Three of these were by now 35 years old.

The 1959–62 LEN Handbook introduced a new rule for the European Championships. For the European Championship entries, each competitor was required to state their best time in the year of entry in a 50 metre pool. This would enable the seeding of heats for the first time. Each country was allowed to enter two swimmers in each individual event and in the women’s events, countries could name a reserve50

By 1963, it was recognised that the dual languages of LEN should continue to be English and French but in cases where the wording varied, English would be recognised as being valid.

Various reports from the technical committees (see Section ‘Technical Committees’ for their formation) were placed before the Bureau in 1963. Synchronised swimming proposed a European Championships to be held in Saltzburg, Austria in October of that year but this was rejected. A proposal to hold a European Water Polo Cup Tournament was agreed in principle51.The German Democratic Republic once again proposed that a calendar conference should be held and this time it was agreed that the first conference should be held in Vienna on 23rd and 24th November 1963 and the LEN Bureau agreed to organize this. Federations were asked to send one representative at their own expense. The Bureau meeting in Zurich on 7th June 1964 reported that the Calendar Conference in Vienna had gone well and that most of the European countries had been represented.

Free movement was still difficult and Béla Rajki, who was no longer President by this stage, sent his apologies for the LEN Bureau Meeting of June 7th 1964 stating that he had been unable to obtain a visa. The widening nature of European competitions was underlined by the fact that the European Diving Cup was held in Leipzig in 1963 and the first European Water Polo Champions Cup was also staged. Vienna was awarded the next European Diving Cup for 1965. The European Water Polo Club Champions Cup for 1963–64 was won by Partizan Belgrade. The preliminary rounds took place in Magdeburg and Naples with 13 teams taking part and the final was held inZagreb.

At a meeting the following year, it was reported that the secondCalendar Conference had taken place in Belgrade with the third to be held in Malmo52. The following conference was planned for France. The second European Diving Cup had been organised in Salzburg in 1965 and the next cup was planned for Helsinki in 1967. The EuropeanWater Polo Champions Cup had attracted an entry of 15 teams. The Yugoslavian Sports Review ‘Sport’ presented a cup to the winners, Pro Recco of Italy.
Significantly, in view of later developments, Spain proposed that the European Championships should be held every two years. The Bureau turned this down on the grounds that there would be too many big competitions and not enough room on the fixture list for international matches between countries. A junior competition had been introduced and the LEN Swimming Technical Committee recommended that this should be made into an official LEN European Junior Championship.

At the LEN Bureau meeting in Utrecht in 1965, the death of Gregory Matveieff who had replaced Harold Fern as Treasurer of LEN was announced. He had been in office for just 3 years53. The Bureau stood in a minute’s silence. The following year, at the LEN Congress also in Utrecht, the President, Jan de Vries, remarked that LEN had been created 40 years previously and drew attention to the fact that René de Raeve (Belgium) had been present at all the Championships from the beginning54.

After 40 years, LEN was beginning to lose touch with some of its early pioneers. Despite this, Istvan Barany, winner of the 100 metres freestyle in 1926, attended in Utrecht. Barany was the first European to break the minute for 100 metres freestyle and was Hungarian Champion over 100 metres and 200 metres on 8 and 7 occasions respectively. A doctor in law and political science, he worked as an official at Olympic, European and Hungarian Championships.

The President reminded the Congress of the late Treasurer, G. Matveieff and the victims of the Italian team in the air accident the previous year near Bremen. The representatives stood in silence in their memory. Matveieff was replaced by Frede Borre and two other members of the Bureau confirmed they would be leaving – Mr Rigal, for family reasons, and Béla Rajki, who announced that he would work in Mexico for two years during the build up to the 1968 Olympic Games. LEN felt that the current regulations on pool building construction could be improved and it was decided that LEN should recommend to FINA that they get in touch with the Internationale Akademie für Bäderkunde und Bädertechnik in order to frame new international regulations for swimming pools55.

The next LEN Bureau Meeting was held during the 1968 Olympics. The Bureau members remembered the life of Britain’s Richard Hodgson, who had recently died. Dick, who came from Blackburn, had been President of the English ASA in 1956. His brother, John, who was President of the English ASA in 1936, had attended the first ever LEN meeting in Budapest as an observer56.

By now LEN was becoming increasingly confident in its role at the matrix of European swimming. The following year the Bureau met in Barcelona and decided not to issue a LEN Bulletin in the future. The main line of communication would be by sending the minutes to all member federations and persons concerned57.

The European Championships in Monaco in 1947 became the first international competition to employ a form of semi-automatic timing58. Although electronic timing had been used in the European Championships since 1966, it was not until 1970 that the LEN Bureau decided that it would become compulsory in all European championships. This was reinforced at its meeting in Vienna four years later. It was during the meeting in Barcelona in 1966 that the decision was made to increase the Bureau to 11 people59.

In 1974, Ante Lambasa from Yugoslavia resigned as a Bureau member and was made an Honorary Member60. He had been a member of the Bureau since 1950 and was to return in 1978 to serve for another 15 years. During the second period, he would also be made FINA President. Five days later the death was announced of Harold Fern of Great Britain who had been associated with FINA since 1936 and LEN, since 1931. Fern, who was a member of the LEN Bureau and an Honorary Life President for 41 years, was very much associated with the old amateur days of swimming.
During 1976, LEN decided to consolidate and identify all of its trophies, a number of which had been presented many years before. In Paris, it was confirmed that the Donáth Cup had been located in Budapest and it was agreed that the cup should be presented to the Hungarian Swimming Association as a memorial ‘to a great worker in Europe swimming’61. Further examination uncovered the fact that the Donáth Cup had actually been originally presented to the Hungarian Association as a FINA Trophy by FINA62.

LEN blazers had been in existence for a number of years. The tie that was employed for officials at the European Championships in Vienna in 1974 was adopted as the official uniform to be worn at all meetings and representative gatherings in the future63. During the Bureau Meeting in Dresden, it was noted that Jan de Vries had completed 40 years service to LEN.

The LEN Congress in 1978 was one of the most unusual. It was held in the Town Hall in Dresden. All Bureau members were met in Berlin at “Checkpoint Charlie” and transported to Dresden64.

Increasingly LEN turned towards education and decisions as to how best to fund future opportunities. With this aim in mind, the Bureau decided to continue and step up its clinics. In order to achieve this, each technical committee was given 4,000 Swiss francs for the period between 1982 and 1983 to promote appropriate clinics65.

Anti-doping has become an increasingly important area for regulation. Swimming, as with almost all other sports, had to take a strong line on the subject. Concerns in European swimming grew from the mid 1970’s onwards. Throughout the last 30 years, LEN has tended to take its lead from FINA and many of the current approaches now follow international policies in sport on doping. The LEN Medical Committee was formed between 1990 and 1992 and was initially chaired by Prof. Malcolm ‘Taffy’ Cameron, the famous criminal pathologist who was involved in many of the notorious international cases – and that was outside swimming! The Committee is now chaired by Prof. Bengt Eriksson.
A rare circumstance in which a Bureau member resigned during his or her period of office occurred in 1983. The LEN Secretary wrote to Bureau member, A. Parodi, seeking to clarify if he wanted to remain a member of LEN. He had missed meetings in that year66. A few weeks later, Mr Parodi wrote resigning with regret due to personal circumstances67. Later, in 1984, he was replaced by G. Perucci.

René de Raeve’s record run of attending every LEN Congress came to an end in Malta in 198468 when he was unable to attend due to illness. De Raeve had attended every Congress since the foundation in 1926– effectively 54 unbroken years. The significance of his absence was that of a direct line with the past coming to an end. De Raeve would have been the only person who could have remembered not only the first but every LEN Congress.

Masters Swimming had rapidly developed in Europe in the 1970’s and LEN convened its first ever Masters ‘Competition Committee’ on 23rd November 1985 in Munich.

In 1987, a discussion took place about the future administrative structure of LEN69. Norman Sarsfield, who was Secretary, indicated that he would retire in 1990. It was agreed that a full-time secretary and office was not justified, nor was it in the best interests of LEN to have a “political” appointment every four years. It was therefore agreed that a new appointee should be sought who would be prepared to serve a minimum of eight years.

The 1990 Congress in Belgrade was the best represented to date. 34 federations attended. The sad and recent death of René de Raeve was announced70. At this point, LEN’s ‘personal’ history came to an end. De Raeve was reputed to have been an inveterate collector of information on LEN.

Underlining rapid change, it was also announced at the Belgrade meeting that, sooner or later an office with appropriate personnel would be opened. The work of LEN had become increasingly time consuming and more complex and it was obvious that full time administrative staff were now needed. It was Bartolo Consolo’s idea as LEN President to have a dedicated administrative office. At the time, there was an option to go to Rome, Vienna or Strasbourg71.

Following the Congress Meeting, the LEN Bureau decided to appoint a commission to prepare guidelines for sponsorship.72 At the time, it was assisted by Swiss marketing consultants, Marc Biver Developpments.

Rising administrative expenses also indicated the growing need for LEN to establish a permanent office. It was hoped that the new office would be partly funded by some of the income from sponsorship sales73. The decision was made to open an office in Rome because the Italian Olympic Committee gave LEN significant support by finding an office without charge in the Olympic stadium. Later, in 2004, the Bureau felt it was important to buy freehold property in order to provide LEN with any future capital gains from a rise in property prices. The first Director, Alessandro Sansa, was appointed in 1995. Sansa left LEN in 2003 and was replaced by Laszlo Szakadati.

Prior to the LEN Bureau Meeting in Helsinki in 1992, LEN received guidance from the United Nations regarding Yugoslavia. The result was that no representation from Yugoslavia would be accepted at the 1992 Congress and Calendar Conference. Yugoslavia was prevented from participating in any LEN event or any members acting as officials. The LEN Bureau recommended to the federations that they should not accept any team or individuals from Yugoslavia at any international competition. Finally, as far as the LEN Calendar was concerned, no fixtures were to be accepted if Yugoslavia was involved74.

In recent years there have been a number of decisions which have had a far reaching impact on LEN as an organisation. LEN established a Structure Commission75 consisting of Harm Beyer, Piet de Raad and Henri Serandour. The Commission was aided by Georges Kiehl and reported its recommendations on May 3rd 1995. At the time, 17 of the existing 48 member federations had two or more separate federations based on the individual aquatic disciplines.

The Commission needed to address whether the registration of more than one federation from one country would work efficiently and whether it would benefit some of the minor disciplines. At that time, Rule 21 of LEN regulations meant that each country could only be represented by one federation irrespective of whether more than one federation existed in a particular country. This meant that in situations where there was more than one federation in a country, the other federations were dependent on the LEN affiliate acting as a conduit for information.

Another criticism had been that each affiliated federation was represented at the LEN Congress in the form of 2 votes but it was considered that this probably was insufficiently representative of the smaller disciplines.

The Commission recommended the following:

1) The Bureau shall consist of 12 Members: President, Hon. Secretary, Hon. Treasurer (They shall form the Bureau- Executive), Vice-President, one Bureau-Member to be in charge of medical and doping matters, one Bureau-Member to be in charge of public relations and media, one Bureau member to be in charge for special tasks, the Chairman of the LEN Swimming Committee, the Chairman of the LEN Water Polo Committee, the Chairman of the LEN Diving Committee, the Chairman of the LEN Synchro Committee and the Chairman of the LEN Masters Committee.

2) Candidates for President, Hon. Treasurer, Hon. Secretary and one of the Chairmen of the LEN Committees shall be nominated by either the (outgoing) Bureau or the Federation to which the candidate belongs. This system will allow the (outgoing) Bureau to influence the elections in regard to those positions -which are the most important in the interest of LEN. Main criteria for a candidate for one of these positions shall be his/her “qualification” and not “political interests”. Experts for the positions concerned may be elected, even if he/she is not proposed by the Federation, to which the candidate belongs.

3) Candidates for Vice-President, Bureau Member for Medical and Doping, Bureau Member for Public Relations and Media, and Bureau Member for Special Tasks shall be nominated by the Federation to which they belong.

4) All Members of the Bureau shall be from different Federations.

5) The term of elected Bureau-Members shall be four (4) years.

6) Bureau Members with the exception of President, Hon. Treasurer and Hon. Secretary may not be re-elected more than once.

The Structure Commission also studied the responsibilities and position of committees in relation to the Bureau. One of the recommendations was that the chairs of the various technical committees should become members of the Bureau. Ultimately the Bureau decided to continue with a member of the Bureau acting as liaison with the various committees:

1) ‘The Chairmen of the Committees shall become full members of the Bureau without increasing the number of Bureau Members. They shall be elected by the Congress. The best way to bring the expertise of Committees to the Bureau is to make the Chairman of the Committee a Member of the Bureau. Once the Chairmen of the Committees have become full members of the Bureau they will have the same powers and responsibilities as all the members of the Bureau for all the Bureau work. Only the Congress shall decide, who shall become a Bureau member. And the responsibility of each Bureau members can only be in relation to the Congress. With 12 members, the Bureau is large enough. The efficiency of any structural body will more decrease than increase, when the number of members is too high. The quality of the Bureau work will not increase by adding more members to the Bureau. The Bureau shall not be considered a body, where more or less all member countries of LEN must be represented.

2) There shall not be any longer Bureau Liaisons. Once the Chairmen of the Committees are full Members of the Bureau, there will not be any longer any need for an additional link between Committees and the Bureau.

3) There shall not be any longer a “Medical Committee”. One Member of the Bureau shall be made in charge of “Medical and Doping Matters”. Any medical aspect of the aquatic sports is taken care of by the FINA Medical Committee. Member Federations of LEN are also member federations of FINA. Whenever they need medical advice this can be taken care of by the FINA Medical Committee. There are no medical matters related in special to Europe. Special European questions are only coming up in connection with anti doping activities and doping control. The anti doping policy is a matter of the whole of the Bureau. The execution of doping controls can be organised and co-ordinated by one member of the Bureau, who will then have to co-operate with doctors available for doping controls. The existence of a LEN Medical Committee seems not to be necessary.

4) Committee Members shall be proposed by their Federation and appointed by the Bureau (as before), a) after consultation of the elected Chairman, b) on recommendation of the elected Chairman, c) with the approval of the elected Chairman. Only those persons can be appointed as Committee Members, who are proposed by their Federation (as before). The Federation must guarantee the travel expenses of the Committee Member. The Chairman of the Committee shall be a Bureau Member. Like all the Bureau Members he will then be responsible to the Congress. He/she cannot take this responsibility for the discipline, for which he has been elected to be in charge if he would be not be able to influence the composition of the responsible committee. There are several options, how far this influence shall go.’

Another consideration was whether LEN should appoint a Commission to be in charge of rules instead of relying on the Congress to make the rules. There was a feeling that rule proposals needed to be coordinated and presented in such a way that they could be easily understood. The ultimate recommendation was as follows:

‘LEN shall establish a Rules Commission of no more than three members. One member of the Commission shall be a Bureau member, who shall also be the Chairman of the Commission. Proposals, submitted for Congress decision, shall be co-ordinated and presented to the Congress without any “recommendation”. The Commission shall also control, that Congress decisions are published and printed correctly. In any case of uncertainty about the understanding or interpretation of a Rule, the Commission shall be consulted’.

Finally, the Commission examined financial monitoring and control where one of the proposals it had to consider was whether to have the services of a certified auditor and whether there should be two auditors who should be members of a LEN affiliated federation. The proposal was that they would control LEN finances and the Treasurer’s work and should report back to Congress accordingly. The ultimate recommendations were as follows:

‘LEN shall use the services of a Certified Auditor. A rule with the same wording as in FINA Rule C18 shall be established’.

The LEN Technical Water Polo Committee decided in December 1997 to recommend to the LEN Bureau that the European Water Polo Championships should be held separately from the championships for the other disciplines76. The Committee felt that it would be good for the promotion of water polo and the LEN Bureau were asked to approve this decision in April 1998. This made the Seville European Championships the last ever combined event with all the disciplines included.

In 1998, the LEN Swimming Technical Committee made a recommendation that a European Short Course Championships should be held every year in December77. To a certain extent, this had grown out of the original European Sprint Championships which was also held as a short course event in the winter. The purpose was to establish an annual winter highlight for swimming with a compact programme that was easy to organise and package for television. It was proposed that the first championships be held at Sheffield in Great Britain in 1998. Adidas were to be the sponsors.

In 1998, LEN received 8 bids to stage the 1999 and 2000 championships, a record number of bidders. The prize fund was increased from the 1996 guaranteed fund which was 380,000 dm (German).

After some preliminary reticence, a successful trial long distance swimming series was held in 1998 in four cities – Brno, Aix les Bains, Nottingham and Alghero. This series was promoted by the newly formed, LEN Technical Open Water Swimming Committee, which met at Aix les Bains in that year78. The first winners of the series were Emmanuel Poissier of France and Edith van Dijk (Netherlands). The first ever technical committee was as follows – Victor Nogueira (Portugal), Chairman, Flavio Bomio (Switzerland), Vice Chairman, Sam Greetham (Great Britain), Secretary, Javier Diaz-Jarguin (Spain), Jon Hestoy (Faroes) and Sergei Matveenko (Belarus).

During 1994, the international swimming calendar was under serious consideration. FINA was planning to reorganise its World Championships programme holding a long course championships every two years in the odd year in the summer and a short course championship in December in even years79. FINA Junior World Swimming Championships were also being introduced and these were to be held every two years in even years. Harm Beyer, Secretary of LEN, raised concerns that it would not be possible to hold championships every odd year because the dates of the European Sprint Championships and the FINA World Championships were likely to clash. He also expressed concerns that an increased international programme would put strain on the coffers of each of the federations.

There were many questions raised about the impact of the enhanced world programme and it was not immediately clear as to the easiest way to find the answers.

By 1997, FINA had made the decision to hold the World Championships in odd years and the LEN Bureau had started to discuss the likely new periodicity as a result of this80. A LEN Extraordinary Congress was called during the European Swimming Championships in Seville in order to look at a new, revised programme in more detail. FINA’s purpose had to been to hold World Championships more frequently to promote greater continuity for the aquatics around the world. LEN decided to hold championships in 1999 and 2000 in order to bring its championships into alignment with that of the FINA calendar.
Television

The European Championships have been covered by a host broadcaster from the very early years of LEN. The 1926 Championships in Budapest were covered by news reel. At least two cameras were used for the television coverage in Magdeburg in 1934 and London, in 1938, was the first championship to be the subject of a full outside broadcast unit.

There are no records of rights’ fees or television contracts from the 1930’s but they undoubtedly, at one time, existed. Comprehensive television coverage was given over to the Championships in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. The first agreement of which a record still exists was in 1970. That year an agreement was reached with Eurovision in which the organising committee was to receive 160,000 Swiss francs for the championships in Barcelona81. By the 1974 Championships, the coverage had grown somewhat with 22 countries taking 40 hours of direct television in colour starting each day at 16.00 hours. The rights fee was 600,000 Austrian schillings but there was an additional agreement for the organisers to receive a further 100,000 should there be a deficit on the Championships82.

In 1975, it was reported to the LEN Bureau that several countries were having difficulty with their advertising and payments for televised swimming events. It was determined that all member federations be contacted and that they should be advised to send copies of their contracts to the LEN Secretary for his advice83.

The Strasbourg European Championships in 1987 underlined the growing trend in swimming, as in other sports, in which the championship programme was tailored to television. The organisers agreed to integrate the championship programme to take advantage of an offer from German television of five hours coverage a day. The LEN Bureau decided that any future bidders for championships should indicate the likely television possibilities open to them so that programme issues could be taken into account84.

Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s the amount of television coverage of both the Long and Short Course Swimming European Championships gradually increased. By 2006, between 15 and 20 million people a day were watching the European Swimming Championships.

LEN Trophies

A series of trophies were introduced in the 1920’s for European competitions. In 1928, the Kurt Behrens Memorial was inaugurated for the springboard diving championship of Europe85. Behrens, who was born in Magdeburg in 1894, died at the age of 34. In his short life, he won the silver medal at the 1908 Olympics and the bronze in 1912. At that time, the springboard diving competition consisted of two dives from the one metre board and five from a three metre board.

From 1926, the European Water Polo Championship culminated in the presentation of the De Raeve Water Polo Cup, named after René De Raeve.

In 1927, the Hajós Cup was presented by the Budapesti Torna Club in order to honour their club member, Alfréd Hajós, who had won the first Olympic 100 metres gold medal in 1896. Not surprisingly, this cup was for the men’s 100 metres freestyle and was to be held in perpetuity by the first person to win the championships three times, a feat eventually achieved by Alex Popov in 1995 in Vienna.

Alfréd Hajós, whose real name was Arnold Gutmann, won the first Olympic 100 metres in 1:22.2 in the Bay of Zea, near Piraeus in Greece, when he was 18 years of age. He was watched by 20,000 people on the shore. The course was marked out by a series of hollowed out pumpkins that lay on the surface of the sea. He later won the 1200 metres gold medal as well. His father drowned in the Danube when Hajós was 13 years old and this led him to learn to swim. According to David Wallenchinsky, ‘In 1895, he won the 100 metre title at the unofficial European
Championships in Vienna’86. His time was 1:25.6, three seconds slower than his Olympic winning time the following year.
In 1931, Dubonnet and Cie of Paris presented the Dubonnet Cup for the winning team in the European Water Polo Championship. If the championship was won either 3 times in succession or 5 times overall by one country, in a similar manner to that of the Hajós Cup, the trophy was to be presented to that country as a permanent memento of its achievement87. Hungary was later to become champion 3 times in succession. The following year, the Nederlandsche Zwembond presented the Bredius Cup in memory of their President, Willem Bredius. Bredius was President of the AZ Club in Amsterdam from the time of its formation in 1870 and was President of the Dutch Swimming Federation (KNZB) from 1900 to 1929. He attended the 1900 Paris Olympics as coach to Johannes Drost. Bredius, along with A. Slop and C. Minnes, may well have attended the first LEN Congress in Bologna in 1927 on behalf of the KNZB. This trophy was to be given to the female high point winners at the European Championships.

The most important competition during the 1920’s and ‘30’s was the Champions of Europe which was presented by Jeremiah Smith, High Commissioner of the League of Nations in Hungary, for the country with the highest number of points at the European Championships. This was determined on the basis of 13 points for a first place, 8 for 2nd, 5 for 3rd, 3 for 4th, 2 for 5th and 1 for 6th in all of the finals. Team points and water polo positions were awarded double points. Using the same formula as the Dubonnet Cup, the trophy could be presented in perpetuity.

Many years later, in 1966, the Harold Fern Trophy was awarded to the leading diving nation at the European Diving Championships and the Netherlands Swimming Federation presented the Jan de Vries Cup in 1970 for the European junior men’s water polo championship in memory of Jan De Vries. De Vries was President of LEN between 1954 and 1958, and again, between 1962 and 1970.

LEN Technical Committees

In 1962, LEN decided to introduce technical committees88. Hungary proposed that 4 technical committees be created – swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming. Despite the name, these committees were not designed to deal with the technical rules as these would be dealt with by FINA and FINA committees. The main idea was that they would “study the technique and the training methods and facilitate exchange of experience of these matters, something that is necessary if Europe is to reach the same standard as America and Australia”89. There was considerable debate about the validity of having technical committees. The Bureau voted in favour of this but decided to start with 2 committees – swimming and water polo – to see how they would work. Soon after, diving was added. The Congress did not wish to form a technical committee for synchronised swimming at that stage. It was left to the LEN Bureau to decide how many members each of the technical committees should have and how often they should meet.

The names of these first ever technical committee members were as follows:

Swimming B. Rajki (Hungary), President, E. Cenni (Italy), J. Feicht (East Germany), F. Harant (Czechoslovakia), N. Krukov (USSR), H. Runstromer (Sweden), A. Price (Great Britain) and L. Zins (France)

Water Polo A. Lambasa (Yugoslavia), President, J. Dirnweber (Austria), S. Catalani (Italy), R. van Feggelen (Netherlands), K. Laky (Hungary), L. Oehlmann (East Germany), V. Ouchakov (USSR) and A. Chapotot (France)

Then, later, in diving:

Diving G. Matveieff (Great Britain), President, G. Olander (Sweden), B. Balla (Hungary), E. Gorezewski (Poland), R. Kunert (East Germany), Miss T. Terouchina (USSR), A. Soret (France), H. Aderhold (Germany) and B. Kivela (Finland)

The Bureau meeting which followed the 1962 Congress was mainly responsible for appointing the personnel to the newly formed technical committees90. The Chairs of the committees, as now, would be members of the Bureau. The Bureau specifically determined that the Swimming Technical Committee would not have responsibility for organising the competitions. The Water Polo Technical Committee had a specific brief of studying the improvement of the game and judging. The Diving Technical Committee was briefed to prepare a work programme. The LEN Bureau itself consisted of the President, two Vice Presidents, the Secretary, the Treasurer and 5 other members. From then on, all the Bureau members would be from different countries.

LEN Technical Diving Committee in 1994: left to right, Hans-Peter Burk, Michael Geissbuhler, Bente Johnson, Sven Folvik, Toivo Ohman, Ricardo Camacho, Maria Cermakova, Dario Scala, Frans Konijnenburg, Alexey Evangulov, and Peter Huber (missing Chris Snode)
LEN Technical Diving Committee in 1994: left to right, Hans-Peter Burk, Michael Geissbuhler, Bente Johnson, Sven Folvik, Toivo Ohman, Ricardo Camacho, Maria Cermakova, Dario Scala, Frans Konijnenburg, Alexey Evangulov, and Peter Huber (missing Chris Snode)

In 1963, the LEN Rules stated that between 6 and 8 people would be appointed to each technical committee and that the appointments would need to be confirmed by the member federations. Each committee would have a Chairman, a Vice Chairman and a Secretary. The denomination ‘President’ for each committee was therefore changed to ‘Chairman’. The powers and duties of the committees were now formulated. Each committee was to:

• study swimming technique (diving, water polo) training systems and training methods
• communicate openly the results of its findings and encourage the interest for swimming (diving, water polo)

• contribute to establish contact between the federations as much as possible

• consider and decide on all questions concerning swimming, diving and water polo, which may be referred to it by the Bureau or Congress

The committee structure had now expanded from 7 to 14 people. There are additional committees for synchronised swimming, open water swimming, masters and medical affairs. Their remit is considerably wider. The role is now to:

• discuss and take decisions on all matters assigned to them by the Bureau or the Executive
• promote their discipline in any possible way, e.g. by collecting experiences, conducting clinics, circulating technical expertise to affiliated federations
• exchange continuously expertise and opinions with Federations in regard to technical matters

• consider and decide on all technical matters in their discipline

• evaluate, promote and maintain the quality of referees, judges and officials to establish annually a list of LEN recognised officials in their discipline
• cooperate in the technical preparation and holding of the competitions in their discipline at the European Championships and the other LEN events
• investigate standard equipment and specifications of venues and facilities for LEN events

• control the technical preparations and technical conduct of the European Championships and all other LEN events in their respective discipline

• consider and take decisions on applications for European records

• appoint sub-committees, consisting of Committee Members to investigate, study and make recommendations to the Committee on any matter referred to them

• establish and recommend for the approval of the LEN Bureau regulations for the conduct of LEN events
Peter Huber (Austria) was one of the long time servants of the LEN Diving Technical Committee. He had been a competitor at the Rome Olympics, had joined the committee in 1967 and witnessed European diving through the modern era, finishing as secretary in 1996. This embraced not only the European Championships but also the European Diving Cups which started in Leipzig in 1963 and on.
Peter Huber, former Secretary of the LEN Technical Diving Committee, seen here coaching in Vienna when younger
Peter Huber, former Secretary of the LEN Technical Diving Committee, seen here coaching in Vienna when younger

Huber took over the LEN Diving Secretary’s role from Gösta Ölander, who came from Nasby Park, Sweden. Ölander worked as the first technical committee Secretary from 1963 to 1967 and had literally been the voice of diving. The Committee lost its President and LEN Bureau Liaison, Gregory Matveieff (Great Britain, born 25th October 1901), in 1965. Matveieff had competed for Britain in the 1924 Olympic springboard event. Huber remembered that it was Norman Sarsfield’s original suggestion that there should be secretaries for the disciplines in 1960 or 1961.

In a recent interview92, Huber stated that diving technique had made great progress since the 1960’s. He felt that at one time, diving had been a sport solely of beauty but now it is much more a sport of attraction. Nevertheless diving was based very much on Newton’s Law of action-reaction. He stated that the diving rules had attempted to follow this progress and that the rules had been adapted throughout to meet this accordingly. One of the main areas of change had been the degree of difficulty. As dives became more complex, so a tariff needed to be allocated accordingly. For example, if a three and a half somersault had been used for the first time instead of a two and a half somersault, then a federation would first of all demonstrate the dive to the FINA Technical Diving Committee before it was included in the international table of dives. Nowadays the table shows examples of dives. Today the degree of difficulty formula is used and dives can also be made that are not in the table.

Huber felt the main countries that had driven change were the German Democratic Republic, the Soviet Union and later, Russia. Prior to the period of Soviet and Russian domination, Italy and Germany had been the leaders. He remembers Roman Brenner of the Soviet Union and Ingrid Krämer of the GDR being Europe’s leading divers prior to this in the 1950’s and late 1960’s. New dives were often adaptations brought about by the introduction of duraflex boards in 1960.
The LEN Technical Diving Committee now meets twice a year, normally one meeting during the year and one meeting at the end of the main competition of the year. Primarily, the Technical Committee remains responsible for manning the competitions and making improvements to the rules. Huber also clearly remembered when computers were introduced into diving. This enabled officials to drop the old hand calculator system. Unisys, the computer company, wrote a programme for diving judges. LEN had experimented with its own system prior to this but Unisys’s system proved to be better. In recent years, the Swiss Timing system has been used.

Moving on to the recent addition of synchro diving to the diving programme, he recalled that synchro diving is actually quite an old idea. The USA had used synchro in the 1930’s for shows and called it ‘couple’ diving. LEN had often talked about synchro diving prior to its introduction in 1991 at the World Diving Cup in Bejing. LEN then introduced synchro in 1993 in Seville. Until this time, the judges in diving had always sat in the same positional layout. With the advent of synchro diving, 3 sat higher, 2, lower. Traditionally, in platform diving the judges had sat higher up and, in springboard, lower. Judges sitting positions were often discussed in the LEN Diving Technical Committee.

Another area which had been much discussed in recent years was the possibility of video replays during judging but the general feeling was that this would mean that judges might end up judging the same dive twice and he stated that judging is part of a reality sport. Judges see the dive at the time and make a judgement as it is happening. Huber also felt that judges had always found it difficult to give ‘0’ for a failed dive. There are 5 diving groups for 1 and 3 metres and a sixth group for 10 metres.

Women’s 10 metre platform synchronised diving awards in Seville 1997 featuring Arboles- Souchon and Danaux (France), silver, Wetzig and Piper (Germany), gold, and Reiff and Richter (Austria), bronze (Photo by Peter Huber)
Women’s 10 metre platform synchronised diving awards in Seville 1997 featuring Arboles- Souchon and Danaux (France), silver, Wetzig and Piper (Germany), gold, and Reiff and Richter (Austria), bronze (Photo by Peter Huber)
On the platform, there has always been an arm stand group but nowadays there are also arm stand forward and arm stand backward dives. He also stated that diving is now facing difficulties due to health and safety attitudes towards accidents but these attitudes are more prevalent in some countries than others. These countries are anxious to prevent amateur divers mistakenly diving off the side of the boards, where most accidents occur, and are therefore encouraging the employment of barriers.

Huber recounted that in the 1950’s there were about 17 to 19 countries taking part regularly in the European Diving events. The highest number came later in the 1970’s when there were 22.

 

 

 

 

 

MEMBERS of the LEN BUREAU

W. Binner GER 1926-1934 I. Cipci YUG 1990-1994
E. Bergwall SWE 1926-1934 B. Consolo ITA 1990-2012
E. Drigny FRA 1926-1957 S. Folvik NOR 1990-2012
R. de Raeve BEL 1926-1990 N. Krutchen LUX 1992-2012
G. Barbacci ITA 1931-1936 F. Luyce FRA 1994-
A. Sirks NED 1931-1938 S. Capralos GRE 1994-1998
H. Fern GBR 1931-1974 G. Princz HUN 1994-1998
L. Hauptman CZE 1934-1950 D. Diathessopoulos GRE 1994-2004
R. O. Brewitz GER 1936-1944 H. Toygarli TUR 1994-2004
J. De Vries NED 1938-1988 R. Blanco ESP 1994-2008
G. Brody HUN 1947-1950 A. Clarkson GBR 1994-2008
F. Borre DEN 1947-1978 R. Ebejer MLT 1994-2012
B. Sallfors SWE 1947-1982 G. Aleshin RUS 1994-2012
A. Lambasa YUG 1950-1954 H. P. Burk GER 1998-2004
A. Lermoine FRA 1950-1960 H. Beijer NED 1998-2006
A. Casalova ITA 1950-1961 K. Mikkola FIN 1998-2012
B. Rajki HUN 1954-1966 C. Thiel GER 2004-
Z. Firzov URS 1954-1978 T. Gyarfas HUN 2004-
G. Matveieff GBR 1962-1965 A. Vlasov UKR 2004-
G. Rigal FRA 1962-1966 V. Nogueira POR 2004-2012
H. Deininger GDR 1962-1970 E. van Heijningen NED 2006-2016
R. Hodgson GBR 1966-1968 D. Sparkes GBR 2008-
J. Morera ESP 1966-1974 P. Barelli ITA 2008-
A. Soret FRA 1966-1982 J. G. Konickx ESP 2008-2012
A. Parodi ITA 1970-1984 J. Kowalski POL 2008-2012
A. Weghofer AUT 1970-1990 E. Meyer SUI 2008-2012
N. Sarsfield GBR 1970-1990 I. Varvodic CRO 2008-2016
K. Van de Pol NED 1970-1990 F. Carpena ESP 2012-
G. Zorowka GDR 1974-1991 N. Zwi ISR 2012-
I. Novak HUN 1974-1994 P. R. Eknes NOR 2012-
1978-1993 A. Sostar SRB 2012-
H. Beyer GER 1978-1998 S. V. Holst SWE 2012-
E. Landa ESP 1982-1986 P. Frischknecht POR 2012-2013
B. Ciundziewicki POL 1982-1994 V. Salnikov RUS 2012-2016
G. Werner SWE 1982-1998 H. O. Yildirim TUR 2012-2016
G. Perrucci ITA 1984-1986 P. Holmen DEN 2016-
O. Mauretti ITA 1986-1990 J. Caruana Curran MLT 2016-
H. Serandour FRA 1986-1994  A. M. Bozdogan  TUR 2016-
N. Wildhaber SUI 1986-1994
H. Schweizer SUI 1988-2004