LIGUE EUROPÉENNE DE NATATION
EUROPEAN SWIMMING LEAGUE
LEN is the European governing body for aquatic sports affiliated to FINA. (LEN is French for Ligue Européenne de Natation or European Swimming League in English).
LEN was founded in 1927 in Bologna, Italy and has been based in Nyon, Switzerland since 2015. Affiliated members are the 52 national aquatics federations of Europe and includes Israel which for Olympic-sport purposes is grouped with Europe.
As an organisation, LEN promotes inclusivity and accessibility by creating programmes that allow everyone to participate in our sport, and ensuring that there are the coaches, officials, and infrastructure in place so that more and more people are welcomed and encouraged.
LEN believes aquatics to be both a sport and a recreational activity that all members of society should have access to, regardless of their age, gender, disability, or ethnicity. LEN is also committed to prevent drowning by promoting life-saving skills in water as well as a new “LEN Learn to Swim” programme now being finalised.
LEN governance is overseen by the LEN Congress (of affiliated members) who elect a President and Bureau (board) who are responsible for setting strategy and policy and managing the work of the LEN Office and staff. LEN set up an Athletes Committee in 2022 so athletes will have a voice and be empowered both through existing structures and new platforms.
The Bureau is composed of Members representing 19 different Federations who are supported by elected specialist technical committees and appointed working groups. LEN oversees the various disciplines of aquatic sports in Europe which are diving (including high diving), swimming, open water swimming, artistic swimming and water polo.
LEN aims to be collaborative, inclusive, and united and is aligned closely with the world governing body FINA, for the benefit of the sport globally serving Member Federations, athletes, coaches, officials, and communities.
The LEN Bureau elected in 2022 set out an action plan based on the following four pillars:
1. Integrity: Transparency and Good Governance
Uphold the highest levels of integrity and standards by implementing new policies, practices and decision-making structures to safeguard and govern our sport transparently and ethically.
2. Our Sport: Making it Accessible for All
Grow the sport at all levels, from grassroots to high performance. Ensure that our Member Federations, athletes, coaches, officials, and technical staff have the resources and tools to develop and engage the next generation of athletes.
3. Aquatic Disciplines: Learning and Working Together
LEN will encourage cooperation between aquatic disciplines so all learn from each other and from other sports to develop, innovate and grow all the aquatics disciplines LEN wants also to support the development of aquatics in other Continental Areas beyond Europe.
4. Sustainability: Making LEN Fit for the Future
LEN is enhancing its event portfolio and other owned assets to drive new standards in engagement, innovation, environmental responsibility, and commercial value.
LEN organises two major championships: the European Aquatics Championships involve four of the five LEN disciplines (swimming, open water swimming, diving and artistic swimming), while, since 1999, there is a stand-alone European Water Polo Championships, both held every two years in even numbered years. The championships were first held – originally in swimming, diving, and water polo – in 1926, making it one of major sport events with the longest history.
European Masters Swimming Championships is also held every second year in all five disciplines.
LEN also organises three discipline championships (short course swimming 25m, diving, artistic swimming), and a LEN Open Water Cup Series with several legs.
- Short course swimming (25m): European Short Course Swimming Championships (held every second year in odd years in November or December).
- Diving: European Diving Championships (held every second year in odd years).
- Artistic Swimming: European Artistic Swimming Championships (former Artistic Swimming Champions Cup) (held every second year in odd years)
- Open Water: LEN Open Water Cup (held every year with several legs).
LEN also runs various competitions for younger age groups annually (as of today, the only continental federation in aquatics to do so), and takes part in the European Olympic Youth Festival:
- Swimming: European Junior Swimming Championships (held every year).
- Diving: European Junior Diving Championships (held every year).
- Water Polo: U19, U17, U15 European Water Polo Championship (alternating in every year)
- Artistic Swimming: European Junior Artistic Swimming Championships, European Youth Artistic Swimming Championships (held every year).
- Open Water: European Junior Open Water Championships (held every year).
LEN also organises club competitions in water polo which take place over 8 months of the year. The men teams can play in the Champions League and in the Euro Cup, and from the autumn of 2022 in the LEN Challenger Cup, while the women can play in the Euro League (women’s Champions League from 2022) and in the LEN Trophy. Winners of the respective cups in the same season will play later for the European Super Cup (both men and women).
The LEN Champions League – held since 1963 – has become the benchmark competition in the world of water polo, featuring the best players not only from Europe but from all over the world. Offering live TV coverage of each match, the Champions League features a 14-round group stage and the season-ending highlight, the Final Eight tournament.