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Margaret Island - a real stronghold of aquatic sports.

Budapest hosts the 28The LEN European Swimming, Diving, Synchronized and Open Water Swimming Championships in 2006.

The majestic Danube river sees much of surrounding natural beauty and man-made monuments of history as it rolls through or touches 11 European countries. A real pearl of this grand river is situated in Budapest: Margaret Island. The picturesque surroundings in this place include professionally maintained parks of unique flora in the immediate victinity, and the view of historic tourist attractions in the background, on both sides of the river: Buda and Pest.

Margaret Island has long been a central place for leisure and entertainment pursuits, but it is now becoming a real stronghold of aquatic sports. Its main swimming complex, the historic Hajós Alfréd Uszoda has been enlarged to twice its original size, thus having two 50 m pools and two 33.3 m pools (one covered). The 2005 Junior European Championships have tested the facilities, which now stand ready to host the competitions and related training. Accommodation of the senior officials of LEN and the teams will not have to be spread out in the city. In addition to hotels on the island itself, large hotel ships of the three, four and five star category will be moored off the Danube banks. Further hotels, situated alongside the embankments of the Danube, will be available for other participants of the European Championships.

A unique way of transportation will be used by guests accommodated outside the island: ships will take them to and from their destinations. Environmentalists call this a "green solution" to the problem, as the technique is environmental friendly, and causes no traffic jams in the city, no extra pollution in the air.

The organizers hope that LEN will be proud of both the sports results and the unique circumstances of the tournament.

The hotel ships providing accommodation for the athletes, and the river-born restaurants will also be ideal places for spectators to watch the supplementary sports events on River Danube, which will include and English type regatta, featuring the Hungarian national rowing team. Water polo will also be played before and after the swimming EC, with the participation of the Olympic champion Hungarian men's team, and the European champion Hungarian women's team.

The Bureau of LEN choose Hungary as host to the 28th LEN European Swimming, Diving, Synchronized and Open Water Swimming Championships of 2006, preceded by the 32nd European Junior Swimming Championships of 2005. The decision was made in 2002, in Riesa. Since then, an organizing committee was set up, which promises one host country, one venue and one swimming family, but two subsequent unforgettable experiences.

Hungarian swimming has long-time traditions. Swimming is first among the Hungarian domestic sports, and it is second on the composite ranking list of the history of Olympic Games, with 23 gold, 19 silver, and 16 bronze medals. In addition, Hungarian athletes won 17 gold medals in World Championships, 53 gold medals in European Championships in swimming itself, with a few more in long distance swimming and diving.

The 28th LEN European Swimming, Diving, Synchronized and Open Water Swimming Championships promise to provide great excitement and a very enjoyable time, as they will constitute a spectacular blue programme in the green heart of Budapest.

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