Budapest hosts European Swimming Championships

Budapest's Margaret Island

The biggest and most prominent sports event in Hungary this year, the European Swimming Championship is well underway on Budapest's Margaret Island. More than a thousand competitors gathered in the Hungarian capital to show their skills in a brand new swimming pool that is named after Tamas Szechy, the most successful Hungarian swimming coach. Sandor Laczko of Radio Budapest spoke to the director of the European Swimming Federation LEN, Laszlo Szakadati about the event:

"Everybody knows about the hustle around the construction of the swimming pools on Margaret Island and the problems that arose a year ago. When we made the last site visits here in Budapest in April, nobody thought we would see such a venue at the end of the day. But we did so and we are happy that the problems were resolved. We have two fantastic swimming pools with a capacity of around 7,000 spectators for swimming and 1,500 spectators for the diving competition. Of course, we also have the old facility that is used for warm ups. Looking at the figures of these championships so far, we certainly have a record number championship as regards capacity, attendance, and media presence."

What about the organisation?

"Well, we have a small problem - the weather. Unfortunately the weather conditions are not the best but there is nothing that can be done about it and it is not the fault of the organising committee. I think everyone is satisfied as regards services, transport, hotels, and the overall organisation around the pool is excelling."

What can you say about the audience? As I understand, there are many people coming from abroad.

"Yes. We are having fantastic attendances, especially for the synchronic swimming. On Saturday and Sunday we had nearly six thousand spectators. We never had such an attendance before and we closed one of the most successful championships ever in synchronised swimming. Swimming, now, is running ok. Attendance is not at the maximum yet but as I said earlier, it is affected by the bad weather conditions so far. Spectators also come more frequently closer to the weekends."

How much can organisers rectify the damage done by the weather?

"They cannot do too much. Unfortunately the weather conditions are affecting more the technique than the organisation committee. We have lots of TVs here, there's a TV compound, the commentary positions, timing and data handling systems. If there's rain for a longer period of time the danger is that the systems stop working."