Israel will stage a large-scale swimming event for the first time next January after Netanya was selected to host the European Short Course Swimming Championships.
Approximately 600 swimmers from across Europe will descend on Netanya for the four-day event, which will take place between January 15 and 18.
The championships will be broadcast live in 35 different countries, with an estimated 145 million viewers watching the last edition of the event which was held last December in Herning, Denmark.
The championships will take place at the brand-new swimming complex of the Wingate Institute.
The new complex features an Olympic-size pool with 10 lanes and three-meter depth, backed by the latest built-in filtration systems, an eight-lane 50m pool and a six-lane 25m pool.
The Israeli Winter Nationals, held in the Aquatic Center for the very first time last month, saw 15 national records broken as well as a handful of age group records.
The main pool can accommodate more than 3,000 fans who can watch the races from close range which should ensure a great atmosphere.
“For us this is like hosting the Olympics,” said Noam Zwi, President of the Israeli Swimming Association.
“Netanya and Israel will receive unprecedented exposure and Israeli swimming will prove that it deserves it. Israeli swimming is currently peaking and we will try and record extraordinary accomplishments in front of the home crowd.”
Gal Nevo won Israel’s only medal at the championships in Herning, claiming a silver medal in the 400-meters individual medley final. Nevo has won six of the 13 medals Israelis have taken in the event since 1998, with an Israeli yet to claim a gold medal in the short course championships.
LE N President Paolo Barelli hailed the future organizers for their magnificent bid. “For a continental organization it is highly important to have more and more major events in new cities, new countries, as this further boosts the development and promotion of swimming,” Barelli said.
“The Israeli Swimming Federation has proved their capability to organize major international events before, by hosting several open water swimming events in Eilat.
Now, they’re entering the elite club of organizers who stage the biggest swimming showcases, too.”
The LEN President also referred to the recent development of Israeli swimming. “Israel showed tremendous development in the past couple of years”, he added. “Their athletes started to win medals at the European events, so I’m sure that the local fans will fill the stands of the fantastic new complex in Netanya.”