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Swimmer Anna Elendt at the World Cup with a silver coup

Anna Elendt is a competitive type. A swimmer who loves to “battle each other”. The final race over 100 meters breaststroke on Monday evening in the Duna Arena in Budapest met the unconditional will of the 20-year-old: The German attacked on the second lane and tried everything from seventh place.

When she struck, it was a mere five-hundredths of a second that separated the SG Frankfurt athlete from the crown at the World Championships in Hungary. Nevertheless, the Hessian was happy when she climbed out of the pool with a time of 1:05.98 minutes and later, at the award ceremony, with the silver plaque around her neck, clapped along to the anthem for the gold medalist Benedetta Pilato from Italy. You could see how much fun Elendt had planned for these title fights.

The decisive impetus for misery

Now she can finally swim freely, she should say a day later when she swam to the final in the mixed relay over 4×100 meters individual medley in the morning. The success on the individual distance, which she had named as the main distance before the title fights and for which her parents had traveled all the way from Dreieich, takes the pressure off her shoulders. She hadn’t wanted to feel him, but he was there after the times she’d already put in this year. Elendt was able to improve the German records over 50, 100 and 200 meters breaststroke within a few weeks. The competition took notice of her.

At the 2019 World Cup, the debutant was still an outsider. Her seventh place in the 50m breaststroke came as a surprise to outsiders, but not to her then Darmstadt coach Alexander Kreisel. He had predicted a rosy future for the talent, who came to him as a recreational swimmer, should the athlete, who was prone to illness in earlier years, stay healthy in the long term.


In a direct duel: Anna Elendt (left) and Benedetta Pilato
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Image: AP

The specialist, who also saw Elendt’s style colleague and former world champion Marco Koch, saw it as the gift of good coordination and outstanding power, which the swimmer acquired with her first club sporting steps as a gymnast and which she transfers from land to the pool like no other trained and trained with her, reasons for that. Elendt got the decisive boost towards the top of the world when, after graduating from high school in 2020, she was inspired by her father to take up a scholarship in the United States.

There, at the University of Texas in Austin, the sports management student enjoys optimal conditions, is trained by Carol Capitani, who twice led Rebecca Soni to Olympic gold in the 200-meter breaststroke, and is part of a training group of around 25 young women, all of whom are motivate each other. The technical details of take-offs and dives are worked on intensively. Despite the torment, music from the poolside creates a summer party atmosphere every day.

But more has happened overseas from which the young woman with Caribbean roots benefits: she has become very open, self-confident and highly professional. With the sound of her adopted country in her voice, she meets everyone in a friendly and sometimes cheeky way. According to sports director Christian Hansmann, the German Swimming Association is happy about its new leader, who, with her positive, American-influenced attitude, brings a good mood to the team and pulls her colleagues along.

In the coming days, the mermaid, gliding along in a striking pink outfit, still has a lot planned: over 200 meters this Wednesday and over 50 meters on Friday, she wants to start in the individual and “see what’s up”; then she flies to Berlin on Sunday, where there is still the possibility of snagging a national gold medal at least over the longest distance at the German championships beginning on Thursday as part of the “finals”. The two titles she could defend have already been reassigned.

With so much commitment, Elendt did not let a small mishap slow her down, the consequences of which can still be seen in her eyes. During her short stay at home before the World Cup, a mirror broke in her room when she was moving a dresser, and she cut her eyebrow in the process. The “cut” still hurts, says Elendt. But at the latest when she dives into the water, that’s forgotten. Then only the “battle” counts for the competition type.

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