The Hotel Bristol in Budapest was the scene of the founding of the European Swimming League (LEN). Although most European federations had been active for years – some were even created the previous century, including the first federation, Great Britain, in 1869 – LEN did not see the light of day until 1926.
Representatives from 11 countries were the architects of this historical agreement, that took place during the first European Championships, that consisted of swimming, diving and water polo events, three established Olympic sports. The first President was the Swede Erik Bergvall, who was also the president of the International Swimming Federation (FINA), founded in London in 1908. The Hungarian Leo Donath was appointed Secretary, making him one of the most influential people in European aquatics during that difficult time.
The founding nations were Sweden, Hungary, Germany, Austria, France, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Greece and Spain.
The first decisions made during that meeting were holding the European Championships alternating with the Olympic Games, confirming European swimming records and committing to promote the benefits and ideals of European swimming.
Throughout its history, LEN has been led by 14 presidents. Nowadays, the power lies in Paolo Barelli (Italy), who was elected in September 2012 along with the Secretary.
LEN headquarters are located in Nyon (Switzerland). The main continental water polo organization has 52 affiliated national federations.