Paris To Host 2026 European Aquatics Championship


by LIZ BYRNES – EUROPE CORRESPONDENT

24 January 2024, 12:52pm

Paris To Host 2026 European Aquatics Championships

Paris will host the 2026 European Aquatics Championships, two years after the French capital stages the Olympic Games.

The Olympic Aquatics Centre (OAC) will stage the swimming, diving and artistic swimming with the open water set to take place in the River Seine where a competition venue will be constructed for high diving.

The OAC is the only permanent sports facility to be built for Paris 2024 when it will play host to diving, artistic swimming and water polo with the Paris La Défense Arena staging the swimming programme and water polo finals.

The event will mark the 100th anniversary of the first European Championships, held in Budapest, Hungary, in August 1926.

The 2026 meet will be the third time France hosts the event following Paris 1931 – when Yvonne Godard became the first French European champion with gold in the women’s 100 free – and Strasbourg in 1987.

Alain Bernard: Photo Courtesy: Presse Sports

Stephane Caron was the hosts’ sole medallist in the pool in 1987 as the GDR, Soviet Union and Hungary dominated the honours with all bar two of the women’s titles claimed by East German swimmers.

By contrast, the 2026 European Championships may well see the challenge of Leon Marchand – set to be one of the stars of Paris 2024 – Maxime GroussetYohann Ndoye BrouardMewen TomacAnalia PigreeMary-Ambre Moluh and Anastasia Kirpichnikova.

Unlikely though, that Florent Manaudou will appear, having previously stated that Paris 2024 will be his last competition in the 50m pool.

The announcement was made at a press conference in the French capital, hosted by the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports and attended by European Aquatics First Vice President Josip Varvodic and Executive Director Patrice Coste, France’s Minister for Education, Youth, Sport, and the Olympic Games Amélie Oudea-Castera, and the President of the French Swimming Federation (FFN) Gilles Sezionale.

Also present was Alain Bernard, winner of the 100 free at Beijing 2008 and who swam the prelims of the 4×100 freestyle relay as the quartet went on to win gold at London 2012.

Varvodic said:

“We are excited to have the opportunity to organise our top event just two years after what we are expecting to be an excellent Olympic Games for aquatics and which marks the 100th anniversary of our first European Championship in Budapest 1926.

“France has a long and successful tradition in our sport.

“I’d like to give a special thanks to President of FFN Gilles Sezionale and his team, the French authorities, who are completely engaged with the project, and all those at European Aquatics who work hard to make this event a reality.

“With the European Championships for 2024 and 2026 now secured, the future looks very bright for aquatic sports in Europe.”

Mary-Ambre Moluh: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Oudea-Castera added:

“I am delighted that we can announce the hosting of the 2026 European Championships, confirming France’s rise as a major organiser of major international sporting events, culminating with the Games in less than six months’ time and these European Championships two years later.

“But there is also great satisfaction in seeing how these sport events help in the transformation of our regions and, above all, the education of our young people.”

Sezionale pointed to the legacy of Paris 2024, saying:

“I’m delighted that, thanks to European Aquatics, we can hold the 2026 European Championships with five of our disciplines, something we haven’t done since 1987.

“Our federation is delighted to be able to organise such a large-scale event, and what’s more in the Olympic pool.

“We are honoured to be able to bring the legacy of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games to life, and we look forward to a bright future for French swimming, whether at the 2024 Olympic Games or at Euro 2026.”

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