“This is a well-organised European championship, and this is not the Hungarian swimming association’s first international success,” Barelli, a one-time Olympic competitor who is also head of the Italian Swimming Federation, told MTI.
Fully 570 swimmers from a record 44 countries are participating in the competitions. Most competitors have been fielded by Italy (49), Hungary (36) and Germany (35).
The competition is a continental record from another aspect, too. Hungary is hosting the European Swimming Championships for the fifth time, more than any other county. The previous swimming Europeans held here took place in 1926, 1958, 2006 and 2010.
Declaring himself a traditionalist, Barelli said the secret of a good event was to keep things simple. “You don’t need to contrive anything in the organisation; the exceptional swimmers, the stars, play the leading role,” he said.
He also referred to the problem of performance-enhancing drugs.
“This is a big problem, it is a war in which the international and European swimming associations as well as individual governments play an important part,” he said, adding that the association carried out stringent testing before an event and during it.