President Silva hails “amazing” Worlds and European collaboration

By Nick Hope
Aquatics correspondent

European athletes excelled during 17 days of exceptional competition during the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka and leading LEN officials were present in Japan to witness many of the incredible moments.

In the water polo competition European teams secured all six of the medals, with the Netherlands securing their first women’s title for 32 years, while Hungary reclaimed the men’s gold ten years after their last success.

German duo Florian Wellbrock and Leonie Beck secured victories in each of their respective 5km / 10km open water events and Italy won the 4x1500m competition.

Constantin Popovici of Romania added the World 27m High Diving title to his historic European success at Roma 2022, while Anna-Maria and Erini-Marina Alexandri secured Austria a first-ever Artistic Swimming World crown with victory in the Duet Free final.

In the pool Frenchman Leon Marchand was one of the leading lights claiming three World titles including victory in the 400m individual medley, which saw him down Michael Phelps’ 14-year-old world record in the event.

There were also world record swims recorded by Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström and Ruta Meilutyte.

“It was amazing the way that the competition was organised, especially after postponing for two years and the performance of the European athletes was fantastic,” said LEN President Antonio Silva.

LEN First Vice President Josip Varvodic added; “It was an excellent World Championships, with excellent results and many world records for European athletes.”

While in the Japan the pair also attended the World Aquatics (AQUA) Congress and also hosted a meeting with 36 European aquatic federations to discuss the LEN reforms Strategic Plan.

“The co-operation between LEN and AQUA is strong and we have the full support of the AQUA leadership,” reflects Silva. “We collaborate perfectly, including with our European representatives and that position strengthens with every event we attend.”

Varvodic continues; “Meeting to discuss the development programmes with European countries was very good and we also presented our integrated model to the Integrity Unit which we will now prepare to be approved at Congress.”

“European is in a very good position and we are moving forwards all the time.”