Images courtesy of Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Following an extensive investigation into incidents at two LEN Open Water events, where the safety of athletes had been compromised, LEN has decided to revise the competition results and has set up a process to create a new LEN Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC).                                                                                  

LEN decided to open an independent investigation into the Open Water Swimming events in Ostia (The European Championships 25 km held on August 20, 2022) and Kiel (LEN OWS Cup leg held on August 26, 2022) during its Executive meeting in Split on September 9, to reinforce the principle that the safety of athletes must be the number 1 priority.

The investigation was conducted by the independent UK based company Quest, working alongside a subject matter expert. They performed interviews and analyzed feedback from questionnaires to establish the facts and draw up the following conclusions:

* The decision to suspend the 25KM race in Ostia by the Chief Referees and Safety Office after over 3 hours was made in accordance with the FINA rules and had a clear rationale.

* The decision to overrule the suspension by the TOWSC Commission was in breach with the FINA Open Water rules and caused confusion among swimmers and coaches. The TOWSC decision not to award medals for that event was incorrect.

Based on these recommendations, the LEN Executive set up a Special Committee who requested that the Chief Referees at the two events establish an athlete ranking at the time of the race suspension. This was then verified by study of the relevant TV footage.

With this information at hand, the LEN Bureau has decided to honour the performance of the athletes and award medals and prize money for the 25KM races of the European Championships based on the ranking established by the Chief Referees, which is as follows:


1            SANZULLO Mario             ITA

2            VERANI Dario                   ITA

3            FURLAN Matteo              ITA

4            REYMOND Axel                FRA

5            SCHOUTEN Marcel          NED

6            KOZUBEK Matej               CZE

7            BOTTELIER Lars                NED

8            SARKANY Zalan                HUN

9            WASCHBURGER Andreas GER

10          LANGNER Ben                  GER

11          STRAKA Martin                CZE

12          MAGNE Matthieu           FRA

13          VERPLAETSE Alexandre FRA

DNF       GALICZ Peter                    HUN

Chief Referee: Volkan Unutmaz


1            JOUISSE Caroline                           FRA

2            POZZOBON Barbara                     ITA

3            SANTONI Veronica                        ITA

4            GRANGEON DE VILLELE Lara       FRA

5            POU Lisa                                         FRA

6            BALOGH Vivien                              HUN

7            CICCARELLA Silvia                          ITA

8            LINKA Elea                                      GER

9            VAS Luca                                         HUN

Chief Referee: Malul Itzhak

Medals will be awarded at an appropriate moment in the coming months and prize money will be paid accordingly.

New Open Water Committee to reinforce key principles

The investigators, the Special Committee and the Executive made several observations during the investigation process and their conclusion was that

·       Safety needs to be the highest priority and concern at any LEN open water competition.

·       Procedures need to be strengthened, clearly communicated, and documented.

As a result, the LEN Bureau has decided that there is a need for stronger leadership skills and knowledge of Open Water Swimming Rules and appropriate procedures in the Technical Open Water Swimming Committee. This will help to ensure safe races and further development of the Open Water Swimming discipline of our sport.

The LEN Bureau has decided to form a new Technical Open Water Committee based on a skills matrix.

All federations will soon be able to submit candidates based on the required skills. Applications will also be accepted from members of the current TOWSC, that is currently suspended.