Julie Meynen; Credit: FLNS

Luxembourg's swimming federation is set to participate in the European Swimming Championships being held in Budapest from 17 to 23 May 2021, with a total of 8 swimmers who have set qualifying times.

With a record number of 51 (of 52) nations, the European Championships began on Wednesday in Budapest with competitions in open water swimming, diving and synchronised swimming. 

From Monday 17 May, the pool swimmers will go on the hunt for best times, medals and records in the Duna Arena. Among them will be a large contingent of the Luxembourg swimming federation FLNS. The competitions are the first major international championships for European swimmers in around 18 months.

"Despite the difficult training and competition situation caused by the Corona pandemic, we are glad that eight athletes were able to qualify for Budapest," said Christian Hansmann, Technical Director of the FLNS. "The athletes made excellent use of the time and, some of them with very good performances, qualified for the European Championships."

In addition to the veterans Raphaël Stacchiotti, Pit Brandenburger, Julien Henx, Max Mannes, Julie Meynen and Monique Olivier, two youngsters Joao Carneiro and Ralph Daleiden Ciuferri will make their debut at a European Elite Championship.

Raphaël Stacchiotti was able to undercut the A time for the Olympic Games over 200m medley (1:59.62) at the 2019 World Cup in Gwangju. For him, the European Championships in Budapest is a stopover on the way to Tokyo. Sprinter Julie Meynen also expects good chances of her second participation in the Olympics. At the 2019 World Cup in South Korea, she approached one hundredth of the A time in 24.78 seconds over 50m freestyle, which enables her to start in Tokyo over two distances. In the 100m freestyle she is still six hundredths short of the A time (54.38). Before the 23-year-old starts in Budapest, she take part in the "Atlanta Classics" from 14-16 May, a first attack on the A time of Tokyo.

Monique Olivier set new national records in her adopted home Edinburgh in March in the 200m freestyle (2:00.71) and 400m freestyle (4:11.59). In Budapest, the 23-year-old wants to build on these achievements and target the two-minute barrier or the 4:10 limit.

Max Mannes is already in a record mood. The 23-year-old only improved the national record for the 100m backstroke to 56.14 seconds at the beginning of April in Stockholm, and again to 56.01 seconds at the beginning of May at the Dudelange swimming festival.

Pit Brandenburger showed rising form in test competitions in March in Marseille and in April in Ettelbrück. The 25-year-old has, among other things, the Olympic B time over 200m freestyle (1:50.23) in his sights in Budapest. 

After contracting COVID-19, Julien Henx was only able to fully return to training five weeks ago. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old sprint specialist is able to make up for the training deficit with mental strength.

For the two youngsters, Joao Carneiro and Ralph Daleiden Ciuferri, it is important to survive on the big stage in Budapest and gain important experiences for their season highlight, the Junior European Championship from 6-11 July in Rome. 17-year-old Joao Carneiro can try to break the national record of his training partner Raphael Stacchiotti over 200m butterfly (2:02.60).

Strict hygiene measures are implemented to protect participants from COVID-19 infections. Each participant must present a negative PCR test 48 hours before traveling to Budapest. Upon arrival in Budapest, a rapid antigen test and another PCR test will be performed. If the quick test is negative, the athletes and supervisors are allowed into the hotel room and, only when the PCR test is negative, the accreditation is activated and they are only allowed to leave the hotel for training and the competition - in their team bubble. A total of more than 3,000 people are shielded in the competition bubble and have to undergo regular tests.