Otopeni 2023: Champions line-up for ‘splash-and-dash’ racing in Romania

By Nick Hope
Aquatics Correspondent

A host of the leading swimmers from across the continent have added their names to the growing list of stars who will be lining up for six days of rapid racing at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Romania, in December.

World record holder – and host nation favourite – David Popovici was among the first to confirm he would be looking to add a European short course title to his impressive medal haul in his home nation.

We now know the Olympian will be joined by major title-winning athletes from France, Great Britain, Sweden, Ukraine and the Netherlands – as well as many others – at the event which runs from 5-10 December in Otopeni.

Following an impressive World Championships, where Maxime Grousset claimed a maiden individual global crown in the 100m butterfly, the Frenchman will now look to secure a first European Short Course Championship title.

Other French stars using the event as part of their preparations for their home Olympic Games in Paris next summer include the London 2012 50m freestyle gold medallist Florent Manaudou, as well as European champions Yahann Ndoye Brouard and Analia Pigree.

Great Britain’s podium push will be driven by Olympic champions Tom Dean, Duncan Scott and Matt Richards.

Their 35-strong squad also features the returning former European gold medallist Kathleen Dawson, who has struggled with injuries since Tokyo 2020.

World championship bronze medal winner Lauren Cox and rising star Leah Scholsshan, who won European Junior gold earlier this year, are also included.

“The European Short Course Championships are a great opportunity for us to assess where the athletes are at come the end of the first training block of Olympic year”, said British Swimming head coach Bill Furniss.

“It will also be a great opportunity to continue building team morale as we build towards the Olympic Games, with the team list combining our more experienced swimmers with some new faces to the senior team.”

Hungary is another nation sending a large contingent of swimmers to Romania, with veteran Zsuzsanna Jakabos returning to the European Short Course Championships 18 years after her debut at the 2005 edition in Trieste, Italy.

2022 World short course bronze medallist Szebasztián Szabó and Nikolett Pádár, who claimed four golds at the European Junior Championships in Belgrade earlier this year are other key ones-to-watch in the Hungarian squad.

The Dutch have also named a strong side for Otopeni 2023 which features double Olympic silver medallist Arno Kamminga, as well as World bronze medallist Tes Schouten and Kira Toussant, who completed a backstroke treble at the 2021 edition.

Sweden’s European long course 100m butterfly gold medallist from Roma 2022, Louise Hansson, is arguably the biggest name in the Swedish squad, which also features her sister Sophie Hansson, a two-time European short-course medallist back in 2017.

Ukrainian Mykhailo Romanchuk, who his sole European short course title in the 1500m also at Copenhagen 2017, will look to add to his impressive array of career honours when he takes to the pool in Romania.

Three-time European short course champion Danas Rapšys headlines a six-strong Lithuanian squad, with a host of other nations set to reveal their line-ups in the next few weeks.

Keep across European Aquatics’ social media platforms and website for key updates leading into Otopeni 2023 – 5-10 December.