Alain Bernard and Rebecca Adlington are the Best European Swimmers of 2008

The LEN Magazine, the official publication of the European Swimming Federation (LEN) has elected the Best athletes of the Year again, in all the five aquatic disciplines: representatives of all the European federations and the media voted for the competitors who have produced the most outstanding results in swimming, diving, synchronized and open water swimming, as well as water polo in the year 2008.

The results were announced in the LEN Magazine, published 27 November. Naturally, it was no surprise that the voters considered the Beijing Olympics heroes to be the most worthy of the LEN Award.

In Swimming Alain Bernard was regarded as the best in the men?s category being the only European Olympic champion in this discipline among men, outperforming Laszlo Cseh, the Hungarian three-time silver medalist. As a matter of fact they had excellently performed at the European Championships in Eindhoven, in March, too.

In the women?s category the race was much tighter as the Europeans achieved top results in the Olympic freestyle events. Finally, with a small margin though, the Best Swimmer of the year title went to Rebecca Adlington, the two-time Olympic champion, winner of the 400m and 800m event, ahead of Federica Pellegrini, the Italian world record holder, Olympic winner on the 200m and the freestyle swimmer Britta Steffen of the Germans, who also collected two Olympic golds on the 50 and 100m.

Rebecca Adlington also won the LEN Popularity Prize 2008 by her fans on the LEN Magazine website (

In Diving, the Russians were at the top: Dmitry Sautin and Yulia Pakhalina were elected the Best Divers of the year, based on their extraordinary results both at the Olympics and the European Championships. It is the second time for the latter to be presented with the LEN Award after 2007.

In Synchronized Swimming the unbeatable duet for half a decade now, Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova became the LEN Award winners. Not only have they won as a duet in Beijing, but were also members of the gold medalist Russian team, too.

In Open Water Swimming the LEN Award trophy went to the two champions of this discipline in Beijing: the Dutch Maarten van der Weijden who recovered from a deadly illness a few years ago, and Larisa Ilchenko, top performer of the Russians, unsurpassable for years.

In Water Polo Peter Biros member of the Hungarian Team, gold medalist for the third time in a row, was nominated the Best Water Polo Player of the year. In Beijing he also became member of the All Star Team. Among the ladies it was Danielle de Bruijn of the Netherlands who received the most votes, having in view her seven goals scored in the Olympic final.

The LEN Awards will be handed over to the best athletes 13 December at the LEN Gala dinner during the Short Course European Championships to be held in Rijeka, Croatia.

LEN Award, winners, 2008

Men: Alain Bernard (France)
Women: Rebecca Adlington (Great Britain)

Men: Dmitry Sautin (Russia)
Women: Yulia Pakhalina (Russia)

Synchronized swimming
Anastasia Davydova, Anastasia Ermakova (Russia)

Open water swimming
Men: Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands)
Women: Larisa Ilchenko (Russia)

Water Polo
Men: Peter Biros (Hungary)
Women: Danielle de Bruijn (Netherlands)

The detailed results


1. Alain Bernard (France) 51%, 2. Laszlo Cseh (Hungary) 34%, 3. Milorad Cavic (Serbia) 11%
(Others receiving votes: Alexander Dale Oen, Norway; Hugues Duboscq, France; Arkady Vyatchanin, Russia)
Alain Bernard in 2008: Olympic Champion (100m free), Olympic silver (4x100m free), Olympic bronze (50m free), European Champion (50m and 100m free)

1. Rebecca Adlington (Great Britain) 39%, 2. Federica Pellegrini (Italy) 30%, 3. Britta Steffen (Germany) 24%
(Others: the Dutch 4x100m freestyle relay)
Rebecca Adlington in 2008: Olympic Champion (400m and 800m), WR-holder (800m), World Champion (800m, short course)


1. Dmitry Sautin (Russia) 78%, 2. Sascha Klein (Germany) 12%, 3. Yuriy Kunakov (Russia) 5%
(Others: Patrick Hausding, Germany; Ilya Kvasha, Ukraine)
Dmitry Sautin in 2008: Olympic silver (3m synchro), European Champion (3m, 3m synchro)

1. Yulia Pakhalina (Russia) 86%, 2. Heike Fischer (Germany) 6%, 3. Ditte Kotzian (Germany) 4%
(Others: Anastasia Pozdnyakova, Russia; Tania Cagnotto, Italy)
Yulia Pakhalina in 2008: Olympic silver (3m, 3m synchro), European Champion (3m, 3m synchro)

Synchronized swimming

1. Anastasia Davydova, Anastasia Ermakova (Russia) 57%, 2. Russian team 28%, 3. Andrea Fuentes, Gemma Mengual (Spain) 15%
Anastasia Davydova, Anastasia Ermakova in 2008: Olympic Champion (duet), also members of gold medallist Russian team

Open water swimming

1. Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands) 86%, 2. Thomas Lurz (Germany) 10%, 3. David Davies (Great Britain) 4%
Maarten van der Weijden in 2008: Olympic Champion (10km), World Champion (25km), World Ch. bronze (5km)

1. Larisa Ilchenko (Russia) 90%, 2. Anne-Keri Payne (Great Britain) 8%, 3. Cassandra Patten (Great Britain) 2%
Larisa Ilchenko in 2008: Olympic Champion (10km), World Champion (5km, 10km), European Champion (10km)

Water Polo

1. Peter Biros (Hungary) 78%, 2. Vladimir Vujasinovic (Serbia) 8%, 3. Nikola Janovic (Montenegro) 6%
(Others: Felipe Perrone, Spain; Alessandro Calcaterra, Italy; Vanja Udovicic, Serbia)
Peter Biros in 2008: Olympic Champion, voted for Beijing All Star Team, European Ch. bronze, winner of MVP Award (European Championships)

1. Danielle de Bruijn (Netherlands) 77%, 2. Agnes Valkay (Hungary) 8%, 3. Mieke Cabout (Netherlands) 7%
(Others: Ekaterina Pantyulina, Russia; Elisa Casanova, Italy)
Danielle de Bruijn in 2008: Olympic Champion, voted for Beijing All Star Team

back to top  back