Berlin plays host to the 2014 European Aquatics Championships throughout August, as the elite of the water meet across several disciplines.
With medals up for grabs in diving, open water swimming, swimming and synchronised swimming, the competition is set to be fierce in the German capital.
Here, we take a look at the full European Championship schedule across the 11 days of action and preview the pick of the events.
|European Aquatics Championships 2014 Schedule|
|August 13 - August 17||Synchronised Swimming|
|August 13 - August 17||Open Swimming|
|August 18 - August 24||Swimming|
|August 18 - August 24||Diving|
Tom Daley Back in Action
Following on from an impressive showing in the Commonwealth Games, England’s Tom Daley returns to the diving board in Berlin with ambitions for gold once again.
The 20-year-old won gold in the 10-metre platform to follow on from the silver he claimed with James Denny in the synchronised 10-metre platform, and he’ll look to build on such form in the European Aquatics Championship.
However, he’ll face stiff competition from the host nation’s Sascha Klein in the individual event, with old scores to settle between the pair.
Klein and Daley faced off in the FINA Diving World Series back in June, when the German came out on top.
Though third behind Yuan Cao and Bo Qui, Klein kept the Englishman off the podium with an excellent performance, leading the German Swimming Federation’s Lutz Buschkow to label Klein among the best of the best—per BLN2014:
“Sascha successfully demonstrated that he is part of the world elite with this result.”
Daley seemed a little out of sorts in Canada, but his Commonwealth Games gold will have given him nothing but encouragement and confidence—showing his happiness on Instagram after the event:
Being a European showdown, the gold medal will likely go to one of Klein or Daley, it’s just about who can hold their nerve on the day.
While the German has experience on his side, Daley has proved over the years that he has the bottle to cross the line, and he could well find his way to gold once again.
The 10-metre platform diving aside, there’ll still be plenty for viewers to sink their teeth into in Berlin, with the unique drama that swimming brings dominating the schedule.
Several other British Commonwealth champions will also be in action, and after England’s performance at the recent Games in Glasgow, confidence will be sky-high for another successful campaign.
British Swimming head coach Bill Furniss certainly believes as much, too, but he said that the team will be using the competition to aid their development ahead of anything else—per BBC Sport:
We did incredibly well [in Glasgow], but we have to be realistic and recognise that it is not a World Championships or an Olympic Games. We will use it as a development meet where we will try some new strategies and the challenge will be to see if we can bounce from one competition to another and keep that quality of performance.
Despite Furniss playing down the significance of the contest, the European Aquatics Championships go a long way toward bringing young athletes into the spotlight.
We could well see the emergence of a Team GB star of the 2016 Olympic Games in Berlin, and while progression will be mission No. 1 for British athletes, they’re not the type to shy away from a gold medal or two.