European Junior Swimming And Diving Championships Are Postponed

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

The European Junior Swimming Championships, scheduled for 8-12 July in Aberdeen, Scotland, have been postponed in news that will come as little surprise in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

So too have the European Junior Diving Championships – slated for the Royal Commonwealth Pool, Edinburgh from 30 June-5 July – been called off.

Sports events have been postponed and cancelled across the world with the biggest of them all – the Olympic Games – pushed back a year to July 2021.

It was a formality then that the two junior events would be postponed although there are no dates tentatively suggested to which they will be rescheduled.

The European junior cancellation prompted Nick Gillingham, now a coach and a former Olympic medallist, World, European and Commonwealth champion on breaststroke for Britain between 1988 and 1996, to raise an important aspect of the cancellation of all junior meets, namely eligibility of those who would have raced at their last championships this summer. Gillingham told Swimming World:

“The governing body could move from an ‘age at end of year’ approach to an ‘age on day’ qualification and stage the European Junior Champs during July / August 2021. Moving in this way would allow many girls aged 16 years and boys aged 18 years to compete and not miss out in what would be their final European Junior Championship.”

Kristof Milak of Hungary celebrates after winning in the men's 200m Butterfly Final during the Swimming events at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships, Gwangju, South Korea, 24 July 2019.

Kristof Milak celebrates victory in Gwangju in world-record time. Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

The European junior swimming is an annual event which was last held in Kazan, Russia, in 2019 and recent graduates have included Kristof Milak – the Hungarian who downed Michael Phelps‘ iconic world record en-route to 200 fly gold at last year’s World Championships – and Kliment  Kolesnikov, triple world medallist and the winner of three gold medals among a six-strong haul at the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow when he had just turned 18.

Milak’s fellow Hungarian Ajna Kesely enjoyed a glittering European junior career with 15 gold medals – including a clean sweep of the freestyle from 200-1500m in Netanya, Israel, in 2017 – and the 18-year-old has already tasted senior success with two silvers and a bronze in individual races at the 2018 Europeans.

Given the upper age limits are 16 for girls and 18 for boys it will mean that some will miss out on their final junior event.


Ajna Kesely: Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

A statement released by British Swimming read:

“Due to the now widespread outbreak of COVID-19, the Stakeholder Group and Local Organising Committees (LOC) within the UK, in agreement with LEN, have taken the decision to postpone the LEN European Junior Diving and European Junior Swimming Championships, set to take place in Edinburgh and Aberdeen respectively this July.

“We realise this will come as a disappointment to the athletes, teams and federations who have been looking forward to competing in this event, however, following the advice of both the UK and Scottish Governments, both of the venues involved are closed indefinitely to protect public health.

“Consultation is ongoing with LEN as to whether a suitable date to rearrange the championships can be found in 2021, however it is not possible to specify a date at the current time. British Swimming will communicate an update as soon as one is available, but at this present time the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone in the aquatics community is our number one priority.”

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