THE Royal Commonwealth Pool will host Europe’s best divers and synchronised swimmers for the 2018 European Aquatics Championships, sports chiefs have confirmed.
Edinburgh’s flagship swimming venue will stage both events, having impressed in its role as host for the diving competition during Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.
News of the Capital’s role in bringing the Championships to Scotland for the first time came as Glasgow was confirmed as the main host.
Leading figures in Edinburgh’s swimming and diving scene said they were delighted, and predicted the prospect of welcoming world-class athletes once again would prove a big boost.
Top city diver James Heatly, 17, who reached the final of the Commonwealth Games one-metre and three-metre competitions, said appearing in front of a home crowd had made a huge difference to his self-belief.
He said: “It was amazing – just really loud and it has given me a lot more confidence for future events.
“I think having the diving and synchronised swimming in Edinburgh will be great for promoting the sport. The more press there is, the more people know about it and it’s really important to build momentum [after Glasgow].
“The more events that are held in Scotland, the more young people who could become athletes are inspired – and that’s not just for swimming and diving but all sports.”
Edinburgh and Glasgow were announced as co-hosts of the 2018 Championships at the end of a bidding process during this year’s gathering, which is currently taking place in Berlin.
Organisers at the LEN Bureau, who voted in favour of bringing the event to Scotland, said the decision was testament to their confidence that the two cities would provide the “best possible conditions” for Europe’s elite swimmers and divers.
Delighted city chiefs said the announcement highlighted the success of the Commonwealth Pool’s £37 million revamp.
Councillor Steve Cardownie, festivals and events champion, said: “Having played its part in the huge success of Glasgow 2014, Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool would be the ideal venue to host the 2018 European diving and synchronised swimming events.
“The Commie has been a well loved venue for over 40 years for professional and local swimmers alike.”
He added: “Originally designed for the 1970 Commonwealth Games, used again for Edinburgh’s 1986 Games, and following a £37.2m renovation ahead of the 2014 events – the venue has certainly earned its reputation as a world-class aquatics facility.”
Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games and sport, said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and we have already demonstrated that we have the world-class facilities for an event such as this with the Tollcross International Swimming Centre [in Glasgow], Strathclyde Country Park and Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool as part of the Commonwealth Games.”