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.
– 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:
• 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
‘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’.
‘LEN shall use the services of a Certified Auditor. A rule with the same wording as in FINA Rule C18 shall be established’.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
• contribute to establish contact between the federations as much as possible
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:
• consider and decide on all technical matters in their discipline
• control the technical preparations and technical conduct of the European Championships and all other LEN events in their respective discipline
• appoint sub-committees, consisting of Committee Members to investigate, study and make recommendations to the Committee on any matter referred to them
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.
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.
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-|
|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-|