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March 7, 2014 11:32 am

Israel’s Netanya to Host European Short Course Swimming Championships in January 2015

avatar by Joshua Levitt

An aerial view of Netanya's Wingate Institute sports complex. Photo: Wingate Institute.

An aerial view of Netanya's Wingate Institute sports complex. Photo: Wingate Institute.

The Israeli city of Netanya, an oceanside suburb, 20km north of Tel Aviv, was chosen to host the European Short Course Swimming Championships, from January 15 to 18, 2015.

The facility to host the championships is the new swimming complex at the Wingate Institute, officially called the Orde Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sports, on a 120-acre sports campus near the Mediterranean Sea.

“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,” European Swimming League (LEN) President Paolo Barelli said in a statement.

“Israel showed tremendous development in the past couple of years,” Barelli said. “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.”

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“Also, LEN is always happy to see new pools being built as they can serve as strong bases not only for the given nations but also for the entire European Aquatics Family,” Barelli said. “We can’t wait to see the start of our European Championships in Netanya.”

The new complex at the Wingate Institute features an Olympic-size pool with 10 lanes and 3m depth, backed by the latest built-in filtration systems, an 8-lane 50m pool and a 6-lane 25m pool. The Israeli Winter Nationals, held at Wingate, saw 15 national records broken as well as several age group records. The main pool can accommodate 3,000 fans and the new pools cost NIS 91 million ($26 million) to build.

Noam Zwi, President of the Israeli Swimming Association, said, “Our association, in cooperation with the city of Netanya and the Sport Ministry of Israel, is committed to stage and organize a significant and unforgettable celebration of swimming.”

“We are sure that the new Olympic Aquatic Centre will see World and European records falling during the short course European Championships as it is one of the fastest pools in the world,” Zwi said. “Israel loves swimming, our swimmers will be ready, our fans will be ready and we, organizers will also be ready to welcome Europe’s best swimmers in Netanya.”

LEN wrote, “The event might also be a great winter escape for most of the participants as the local climate is rather mild even in January: the temperatures average 10 degrees and people can enjoy mostly sunny days alongside the Mediterranean Sea, in an area which is regarded one of the most beautiful sites of Israel.”

LEN said that representatives of the Israeli Swimming Federation and the city of Netanya presented “a rather impressive bid” to the LEN Bureau during the short course Europeans, in December 2013, and the members – through mail votes – “made an overwhelming majority decision” to award Netanya the right to host the 2015 championships.

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