Rome To Host Aquatic Gladiators For 2022 European Championships

Roman Colosseum, possible venue for 2024 Olympics
The Colosseum, Rome Photo Courtesy: Vassil

Rome will stage the European Aquatics Championships for the first time in 39 years when the Foro Italico plays host from 11-21 August 2022.

LEN, the European Swimming League, made the announcement on Monday after speculation that Rome or Kazan, Russia, would stage the event instead of Munich. The swimming pool in the Bavarian capital did not meet LEN facility requirements, forcing a change of venue.

Negotiations are ongoing over whether the continent’s showcase event, now to be held in Rome, will be incorporated in the multi-sports European Championships that will be staged in Munich at the same time.

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The Pool at the Foro Italico in Rome – Photo Courtesy: Craig Lord

LEN believe up to 1,500 athletes will represent 52 nations with the Foro Italico staging the swimming and diving while a temporary pool will be set up in the adjacent tennis centre to accommodate the artistic swimming events.

Ostia will hold the open water events with high diving set to make its continental showpiece debut with iconic Rome landmarks such as the Vatican, the Colisseum or the Castel Sant’Angelo being considered.

LEN president Paolo Barelli said: “I’m pleased to announce that LEN has chosen Roma as the host of the 2022 edition of our top event, the European Aquatics Championships.

“I’m sure that we shall witness another memorable event in our magnificent Foro Italico complex, site of many great championships in the past and the other venues will also show the beauties of our Eternal City.”

The Foro Italico is one of the most iconic venues in the swimming world with its open air seating and sense of history.

Federica PELLEGRINI of Italy prepares herself before competing in the women's 200m Freestyle Heats during the LEN European Swimming Championships at Europa-Sportpark in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (Photo by Patrick B. Kraemer / MAGICPBK)

The flexible Federica Pellegrini – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Despite its beauty, it played host to the 1983 European Championships when the sport was enduring some ugliness as the East German women swept the board, winning every single swimming title.

It hosts the annual Sette Colli meet each June with many of the world’s top swimmers making it an important date in their training schedule.

Ten years ago it was the scene of the World Championships when an astonishing 43 world records were set at the height of the shiny-suit saga.

The crowds paid homage to Federica Pellegrini who became the first woman to swim the 400m freestyle inside four minutes when she stopped the clock in 3:59.15 ahead of Jo Jackson and Rebecca Adlington, both of Great Britain.

Pellegrini also broke the 200m world record in 1:52.98, a mark that stands today, and she was afforded treatment more akin to a rock star, her name chanted every time she appeared.

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