On Monday 13 March 2023, the Royal Belgian Swimming Federation received a message from the Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN), which stated that, with immediate effect, an adjustment had been made to the age categories for juniors. Indeed, from now on, boys aged 14 (year of birth 2009) and girls up to 18 (year of birth 2005) can also participate in the European Junior Championships, and are therefore by definition juniors.
The consequence of this decision is that these categories will also change for federations affiliated to the LEN.
After internal deliberation and consultation with federations from neighbouring countries, the decision was taken on Tuesday 21 March 2023 to implement the changes even during the 2023 national championships. This will avoid depriving swimmers of the opportunity to qualify for international tournaments.
While changing the regulations and creating a new Lenex file, some mistakes were made. Through this way, order and clarity will be provided.
1. The limit times on the 800m and 1500m freestyle were converted incorrectly. The regulations stating that the fastest 16 entry times are eligible to start remain in place;
2. When creating and fitting the Lenex file, there was a typing error on '200m medley men's juniors' and on the '800m freestyle men's youth'. The limit times published in the updated rulebook are the only correct ones.
Entries with a time above the required time are technically possible. However, these entries will be rejected after verification;
3. For one category, namely boys born in 2007, there has been a shift from 'youth' to 'juniors'. Sharper limit times therefore do apply to them. In this way - as prescribed by the LEN - equality is created between men and women.
In concrete terms: entries should be made via the Lenex file that was sent to all clubs by Kim Van Malderen on 21 March 2023.
We apologise for this 'false start' but together with you we continue to look forward to a great new edition of the Open Belgian Championships.