It is with great sadness that we inform the aquatic community that Stefan Bottlik, our LEN TWPC Member from Slovakia, has passed away. Stefan devoted his whole life to water polo, using his intellect, great energy and social skills to help improve the game. He worked tirelessly to help educate and manage the work of officials, helping to encourage new generations of TWPC members and water polo specialists. LEN sends sincere condolences and support to Stefan’s family at this difficult time.
He was born to a water polo family, his brothers Gabriel and Ladislav were both keen water polo players so his faith was decided early on. While Ladislav went on becoming a successful coach – he led the Slovakian national team for long years –, Stefan devoted his career to officiating, besides getting a university degree in electrical engineering.
As a highlight of his international referee career, he officiated at the 2001 FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, was nominated to three editions of junior Worlds, several European Championships and European club competitions, including a final of the women’s Champions Cup.
After whistling more than 500 international matches, he switched to sit at the jury table to oversee games as a delegate and later he was elected to the LEN TWPC. Since 2008 he was serving European Aquatics in this capacity – for one term he was the Secretary of the committee.
He also worked devotedly to Slovakian water polo, chaired the organising committee for the 1994 and 1998 junior water polo Europeans held in Bratislava, was general secretary of the federation and acted as team leader at the 1998 World Championships and the 2000 Olympics.
“You have to be lucky in life” he said in the interview published in the occasion of his 65th birthday last October. “Many people have said it so many times: to be in the right place at the right time – but you can only benefit from this if you give your best effort every time.”
He gave, indeed – European Aquatics shall miss such a dedicated official from the pool decks.