March 6 - Israel is set to host its first ever large-scale swimming event after the European Swimming Federation (LEN) named Netyana the host of the European Short Course Swimming Championships.
The city was chosen following an impressive bid presented to the LEN Bureau during the competition in Herning, Denmark, last year.
Following the presentation, members of the ruling Bureau voted overwhelmingly in favour of the city's bid, leading to the announcement today.
LEN President Paolo Barelli highlighted the importance of bringing the event to new cities in order to boost the development of swimming across the world.
"For a continental organisation 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," he said.
"The Israeli Swimming Federation has proved their capability to organise major international events before, by hosting several open water swimming events in Eilat.
"Now, they're entering the elite club of organisers who stage the biggest swimming showcases, too."
Barelli added: "Israel showed tremendous development in the past couple of years.
"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.
"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.
"We can't wait to see the start of our European Championships in Netanya."
The four-day event is due to see around 600 swimmers from across Europe make their way to Natyana's brand new swimming complex, the Wingate Institute, from January 15 to 18, 2015.
The Championships was originally due to be held in December 2014 but organisers moved the event back to January in order to avoid a clash with the 2014 Short Course World Championships taking place in Doha, Qatar, in early December.
The new complex features an Olympic-size pool with 10 lanes and three metre depth, backed by the latest built-in filtration systems, an eight-lane 50m pool and a six-lane 25m pool.
It played host to the Israeli Winter Nationals last month and saw 15 national records broken, as well as a handful of age group records.
The main pool can accommodate 3,000 spectators.
"Our association in cooperation with the city of Netanya and the Sport Ministry of Israel are committed to stage and organise a significant and unforgettable celebration of swimming," said Noam Zwi, President of the Israeli Swimming Association.
"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.
"Israel loves swimming, our swimmers will be ready, our fans will be ready and we, organisers will also be ready to welcome Europe's best swimmers in Netanya."
The next European Short Course Swimming Championships are expected to take place in November 2015 but the dates or location are yet to be confirmed by LEN.
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