RIJEKA, Croatia, December 4. A total number of 40 nations have entered 530 athletes – 281 men and 249 women, with a total of 1,487 individual and 70 relay entries – for the 12th European Short Course Swimming Championships to take place in Rijeka, Croatia next week (Dec. 11-14). If there are no last-minute cancellations, this is a new record entry.
Nine Olympic Champions from the last three Games in Sydney, Athens and Beijing will compete: Italy's Massimiliano Rosolino (200m IM/2000), Romania's Camelia Potec (200m freestyle/2004), France's Laure Manaudou (400m freestyle/2004) and from Beijing, Italy's Federica Pellegrini (200m freestyle), Frenchman Alain Bernard (100m freestyle) and the complete Dutch women's 400m freestyle relay team with Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk and Marleen Veldhuis.
There will be new European Champions in Rijeka in 17 of the 34 individual events according to the entries. Several national teams are undergoing radical changes after the Beijing Olympic Games, a new generation of swimmers is stepping up in Europe. Rijeka will be an opportunity to show their potential and stimulate European hopes for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The Ukraine and Germany are particularly affected by the retirement of successful athletes of the past years. Four-time Olympic individual medley Champion Yana Klochkova, 15-time European Champion in the 50m and 100m breaststroke (short and long course) Oleg Lisogor, Denis Sylantyev and Andriy Serdinov have retired in Ukraine, and the former European Champions Antje Buschschulte, Anne Poleska and Nicole Hetzer in Germany. In Sweden, Anna-Karin Kammerling said goodbye to competitive swimming and the Dutch three-time Olympic Champion Pieter van den Hoogenband will say his final farewell in Eindhoven this Sunday.
The two 2008 double Olympic Champions, Germany's Britta Steffen (50m and 100m freestyle) and Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington (400m and 800m freestyle) will not compete in Rijeka. Hungary' superstar Laszlo Cseh, triple silver medalist in Beijing in the 200m butterfly, 200m and 200m IM, all three behind Michael Phelps, will only swim the 50m and 100m backstroke in Rijeka.
Italy has entered the largest team in Rijeka with 34 athletes, followed by Great Britain (33), Russia (32), France (31), host Croatia (31) and Germany (30). Germany (5 gold – 7 silver – 7 bronze), Russia (5-4-3), France (4-4-5), Hungary (4-2-3) and Sweden (4-2-2) were the most successful teams in the medals table at the European Short Course Swimming Championships last year in Debrecen, Hungary.
Special thanks to LEN Magazine for contributing this report.
The 40 nations at the 2008 European SC Swimming Championships in Rijeka (CRO) and their top swimmers:
(total number of swimmers in brackets)
AUT Austria (16): Mirna Jukic, Dinko Jukic, Fabienne Nadarajah, Maxim Podoprigora
BEL Belgium (13)
BIH Bosnia-Herzegovina (1)
BLR Belarus (12): Aliaksandra Herasimenia, Ina Kapishina
BUL Bulgaria (5)
CRO Croatia (31): Duje Draganja, Sasa Impric, Sanja Jovanovic, Gordan Kozulj, Alexei Puninski, Marko Strahija
CYP Cyprus (2)
CZE Czech Republic (21): Alena Nyvltova, Kvetoslav Svoboda
DEN Denmark (26): Jakob Andkjaer, Chris Christensen, Lotte Friis, Mads Glaesner, Jeannette Ottesen
ESP Spain (11): Mireia Belmonte, Javier Noriega, Erika Villaecija, Aschwin Wildeboer
EST Estonia (11)
FAR Faroe Islands (4): Pal Joensen
FIN Finland (8): Hanna-Maria Seppala, Katja Lehtonen, Anu Koivisto
FRA France (31): Coralie Balmy, Esther Baron, Alain Bernard, Frederick Bousquet, Hugues Duboscq, Amaury Leveaux, Laure Manaudou, Aurore Mongel, Camille Muffat, Alena Popchanka
GER Germany (30): Paul Biedermann, Steffen Deibler, Johannes Dietrich, Helge Meeuw, Thomas Rupprath, Janne Schäfer
GBR Great Britain (33): Jessica Dickons, James Gibson, Kristopher Gilchrist, James Goddard, Jemma Lowe, Hannah Miley, Katy Sexton, Elizabeth Simmonds
GRE Greece (9)
HUN Hungary (21): Laszlo Cseh, Daniel Gyurta, Gergo Kis, Agnes Mutina, Evelyn Verraszto
ISL Iceland (2)
IRL Ireland (10)
ISR Israel (6)
ITA Italy (34): Paolo Bossini, Emiliano Brembilla, Federico Colbertaldo, Alessia Filippi, Edoardo Giorgetti, Filippo Magnini, Luca Marin, Federica Pellegrini, Massimiliano Rosolino, Francesca Segat, Alessandro Terrin
LAT Latvia (1)
LTU Lithuania (10): Vytautas Janusaitis
LUX Luxembourg (2)
MKD FYR of Macedonia (1)
MNE Montenegro (3)
NED Netherlands (23): Inge Dekker, Chantal Groot, Femke Heemskerk, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Hinkelien Schreuder, Marleen Veldhuis
NOR Norway (11): Alexander Hetland, Sara Nordenstam
POL Poland (10): Beata Kaminska, Lukasz Wojt
POR Portugal (9) : Diogo Carvalho
ROU Romania (1): Camelia Potec
RUS Russia (32): Evgeny Aleshin, Valentina Artemyeva, Stanislav Donets, Evgeny Korotyshkin, Nikita Lobintsev, Yana Martynova, Yury Prilukov, Nikolay Skvortsov, Alexander Sukhorukov, Anastasia Zueva
SLO Slovenia (12): Anja Carman, Peter Mankoc, Matjaz Markic, Emil Tahirovic
SRB Serbia (12): Milorad Cavic
SVK Slovakia (5): Lubos Krizko
SWE Sweden (10): Petra Granlund, Martin Gustafsson, Joline Hoestman, Sarah Sjostrom
SUI Switzerland (19): Flori Lang, Dominik Meichtry
TUR Turkey (12): Derya Buyukuncu
UKR Ukraine (20): Igor Borysik, Valeriy Dymo, Yulia Pidlisna, Kataryna Zubkova