A graduate of England’s Oxford University, Dr. Leo Donath is referred
as “the administrative genius behind FINA (Federation Internationale
Natation Amateur/International Swimming Federation).” As its honorable
secretary and treasurer, he ran the world swimming organization
from 1928 until his death in 1941.
An outstanding swimmer himself—Donath swam for Oxford University’s
swim team—he defeated two-time Hungarian Olympic sprint
champion Zoltan de Halmay, in a 1906 event.
In 1911, Donath was one
of the founders of the Hungarian Swimming
Association. Through Donath’s initiative, the European Swimmers
League was established in 1925, and he was elected its first secretary
and treasurer. Based upon his suggestion, the first European Swimming
Championships were staged in 1926.