A combination of fresh host cities, the continued global dominance of European athletes and the expertise of a new Technical Committee line-up will see the LEN Open Water Cup thrive in 2023.
That is the view of Andrea Prayer, the recently appointed chair for the LEN Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC) who met with members of the LEN Office for the first time earlier this month.
The six-leg 2023 season begins in Eliat, Israel, on 18th March and will conclude on 23 September in Barcelona, Spain.
In addition to the LEN Open Water Cup series, leading athletes will also be targeting the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan in July and the World Aquatics Open Water Swimming World Cup which runs from May to December.
There are also two additional key events later in the summer with the Paris 2024 Olympic test event taking place from 4-5 August and the LEN European Junior Open Water Championships in September.
“I think that this will be absolutely a great, great season,” insists Prayer.
“If you look at the medals from past World Championships and Olympics Europe is the first continent in open water with many strong athletes.
“We also have good participation and this season new countries and cities hosting in Slovakia and North Macedonia which is really interesting for us and a big opportunity.”
Prayer began working with European Aquatics in 1995 when he became responsible for the LEN Masters Open Water Swimming Technical Committee and held that position through until 2016.
During that time he also helped organise the open water swimming element of the 2009 Fina Swimming World Championships in Rome, two World Masters Swimming Championships and served eight years as secretary on the Fina Open Water Swimming Committee.
The Italian took on a role in the elite side of the sport with LEN in 2016 and is aiming to work on his fourth Olympics, following London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, come Paris 2024.
While Prayer, who has also spent time as a swimmer and coach himself, possesses a significant array of skills he is delighted by array of experiences he believes his fellow Committee Members will bring to the sport.
“The majority of the members are very good, experienced people in open water and I’m very lucky to have these expert people to work with,” he states.
“It will make it easier to work effectively and make good progress for the open water discipline.”
2022 saw the successful execution of outstanding female and male 5km as well as 10km events at the Roma European Championships. However, the 25km competition was suspended mid-race due to deteriorating weather conditions.
In November, following an investigation, LEN revised the competition results and stated an aspiration to launch a new TOWSC group who would assist key future decision-making.
“We have to work very strongly on the on the safety and this is the most important thing,” states Prayer, who’s appointment, together with 13 other members – and two Bureau Liaison officers – came as a direct result of that ambition.
“Unfortunately in Rome we had a very unlucky time for the 25km with the weather.
“Going forwards we hope that by forging good relationships with organisers, using our knowledge and hopefully being lucky with the weather we will see positive experiences.”
The TOWSC members also plan to meet in Eilat, the first LEN Open Water Cup venue of the season, to examine new tools for safety procedures during the series.
“I’m very proud to be appointed,” continued Prayer. “I would like to thank the (LEN) Bureau and I will try to do my best in the role.”
FULL 2023 LEN OPEN WATER CUP SCHEDULE
|LEN Open Water Cup – Leg 1||18 March||Eilat (ISR)|
|LEN Open Water Cup – Leg 2||13 May||Piombino (ITA)|
|LEN Open Water Cup – Leg 3||17 June||Belgrade (SRB)|
|LEN Open Water Cup – Leg 4||19 August||Samorin (SVK)|
|LEN Open Water Cup – Leg 5||03 Septermber||Veles (MKD)|
|LEN Open Water Cup – Leg 6||23 September||Barcelona (ESP)|