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FINA Marathon Swim World Series 2022 – Anna Olasz

Setubal Soundbites | Open water elites give insight into what to expect in the Marathon Swim World Series opener

We caught up first with Anna Olasz after she and her Hungarian teammates put in two shakeout laps in Setubal. The 29-year-old with the sporting philosophy of “hard work pays off” struck an excited and confident tone when back beachside. But the Arizona State Sun Devil alum made no doubt about it, that tomorrow’s competition with the waves and currents pushing in the estuary will make for a taxing, testing course for all the competitors.  

Anna, how are you feeling? What are your feelings after having tested the course?

It’s really special to have the first World Series event at the end of May and a month before the World Championships. I think all of us are super excited to race each other finally.

It’s an awesome course. It’s my sixth time in Setubal, so I think I’m kind of experienced on this course and at this place. Yeah, overall, I’m just really excited to race.

A constant chatter amongst athletes is really centered on the currents. What’s it like out there?

This is one of the hardest courses because of the currents. Usually, we don’t get to race at places where there are waves and currents that change during the race. This just adds a lot more “open water” to the open water racing. This is what I really like. Compared to Lupa Beach where the FINA World Championships is going to be much more like a big pool while this will be real open water. We’ll really enjoy this.

Can you tell us what the race tactics could be on this course?

Yes, definitely. I think this is the hardest race when considering tactics, too, because you really have to think about your strengths, when to push it and where. Should I go when the current is pushing me, or should I try and go in front when you’re going against the current. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has a different plan. It’s always really exciting to see what works out best. I also think we’re going to have to change our plan during the race with the current changing while we’re racing.

What’s your strength?

My strength is to push at a pretty fast pace for a long time. I’m not the best at sprinting. So, obviously, having a long finish is better for me. I think this venue and this current is helping me because if you’re going to have to really swim the last thousand (metres), which is hopefully going to help me.

Setubal will be racing in wetsuits. Are you into this?

I used to hate wetsuits. They used to be very uncomfortable ones that were very heavy and thick that weren’t good for my shoulders. I wasn’t “strong enough” for them. But I think the new technology and the new wet suits are way more comfortable. I did pretty well in wetsuits so I’m not having bad feelings about racing in them. It’s going to be very interesting to see how everyone is swimming in wetsuits.

Last question: This will be the last big race before FINA World Championships. How will you use this for your preparation for racing on your home course at Lupa Beach?

This is the last preparation, but this race will be the complete opposite of what we’re expecting at Lupa. Lupa is flat, it’s going to be warm water, and definitely no wetsuit. And this is currents, waves, wetsuits. So it’s really different course. But it’s still open water, still 10km. We’re going to have a lot of good competition here. This is good preparation and a really good last practice, trying to work on my technique, and my strengths, and see what shape I’m in. Obviously, No one’s tapered, everyone is still very much in training. It’s going to be a good last race.   

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