SOliver Klemet sums up an annual summary in one sentence: “It can go on like this.” Within nine months, the SG Frankfurt swimmer developed from a successful national talent to an international medalist in the open class. The rapid pace of his ascent is easy to explain: The 19-year-old from Wehrheim is now benefiting from what he worked hard during the 2020 break from competitions due to corona.
His twelfth place at the European championship premiere in Budapest over the Olympic ten kilometers was followed by two German championship titles in Münster at the end of June – also in open water over five and ten kilometers. When he left the junior class, he was awarded silver on the continental level. After a vacation break, Klemet did the first crawl moves in the direction of the major events in 2022. Back from a three-week high altitude training camp with the German Swimming Association (DSV) in the Sierra Nevada, the perspective member cracked this month in Magdeburg with new bests over 1500 meters and 800 meters Freestyle, 14: 58.33 and 7: 54.21 minutes, the norms for the European Championships in Rome in August.
On the longer distance he was the only one of the entire pool competition to undercut the target time for the world title competition in May in Fukuoka, Japan. Only a few days later the World Cup debutant crowned his record at the final in Abu Dhabi with a relay bronze in the mixed over 4 × 1.5 kilometers, followed by eleventh place in the individual race over ten kilometers. “There was a lot of tussle and on the last lap I was stuck between two people,” explains the Hessian who would have liked to have ended up a little further ahead. “In open water, it’s like lugging extra weight around with you.” But every race means more experience. And that plays a major role in competitions in open waters.
Klemet talks calmly about his successes and the prospects that are now open to him. He has got used to being among the best, in close proximity to Olympic champion and world record holder Florian Wellbrock. The student at the Carl von Weinberg School in Frankfurt regularly joins the Magdeburg training group for the German swimmer. After his home coach Jan Wolfgarten moved to Portugal in August, national coach Bernd Berkhahn offered him this opportunity.
A change of school a year before graduation was out of the question; But Klemet does not want to do without the strong training partners in Saxony-Anhalt, including his club colleague and Olympic bronze medalist, Sarah Köhler. He is drawn to the East as often as possible, while otherwise unwinding his lanes with the new Frankfurt head coach Dirk Lange. There is no fundamental coordination between the two experts, one of whom relies more on endurance and the other on speed, says Klemet. It is always the one with whom he finds himself who is in charge. “Maybe it would be better if it were different,” says the athlete, who describes himself as a “bridge”. But “at the moment it is working”, and in 2022 the course will have to be set again anyway.
High school students with advanced courses in mathematics and sports are about to graduate from high school. The World Cup falls exactly between the written and oral exams. Klemet hopes that he can reconcile the 70 to 90 kilometers that he covers in the water per week with the school challenges. While gliding through the water for a long time, he plays through his possibilities in his head and forges plans. Exams in the training camps, of which the next one is due from mid-February, writes Klemet under supervision, the homework is uploaded to the PC.
The freestyle specialist wants to reduce the standard times it swam from Magdeburg in the second qualification window in the spring. Only two swimmers per route are allowed to take part in the World Cup. Wellbrock is set, and according to Klemet, the competition is fierce. He wants to prevent anyone else from passing him by. But Klemet only stopped training on the Christmas holidays. He has been jumping into the pool every day since Monday. Because in the coming year things should go well for him.