Feature by Stefan Lackner
CLEVELAND, Mississippi, October 30. POLAND's Lukasz Wojt is next up in our Getting to Know series on European swimmers.
Events: 200 IM, 200 free
College: FH Wiesbaden
Residence: Frankfurt, Germany
Hobbies: Playing all kinds of sports and reading books
Club: SG Frankfurt
Coach: Danuta Wojt
* Gold at German nationals, and finalist at European short course
* Gold at German short course nationals and medalist at European long course
* Gold at German nationals short and long course and finalist at Europeans
* Gold at German and Polish nationals and finalist at Europeans
* Gold at German and Polish nationals, bronze medalist at World University Games and Polish record
* Qualified for the Olympic Games, finalist at short course worlds
* Bronze at World University Games in 2007
How was the Olympics experience overall?
The Olympics were pretty fast. Unfortunately, I could not reach any of my personal bests. But, it was a great experience to be there, and to meet so many other people from other sports. It was definitely worth all the pain I had to go through to get there.
How has your life changed by being a part of the sport?
I have met a lot of interesting people, and I've seen a lot of different places. I spent almost a year in the United States, which also helped me to improve my language skills.
Did you ever think you would be as successful in your country as you have been?
When I started swimming, my goal was to participate at the Olympics. I worked hard for it, and I'm glad that it worked out. My mum, who has been my coach since I was little, is also my biggest supporter.
With the world getting faster in the sport, who do you see as the next big swim country after the U.S. and Australia?
Poland! Just kidding. I don't know. The college/sport system in America is unique. No other country in the world has that, so it is hard for a smaller country to become a strong swim nation. It is mostly just one or two good swimmer from a country. But, that's not really a swim nation to me. But, to answer your question, maybe France comes close to what you can call a swim country.
What is your next goal?
To graduate from school, and enjoy swimming more than I did the past two years.
What do you do to prepare before a race?
I try to concentrate on the main things like body position, start and turns. What I learned in the past few years is to not think about what will happen if I get second or I miss a cut and don't make a team. Thoughts like this cost a lot of mental energy you actually need for the race later on.
What is the hardest set you've ever swum?
I have done a lot of hard sets, but I couldn't say exactly which one was the hardest. But, sets like 24 x 200 free or 15 x 400 IM for time really make me tired.
Do you ever fear losing a race?
No. In my situation, I am always more worried about reaching a certain time.
Did you ever wish to participate in another sport?
Actually, quite often, especially since my girlfriend is a world-class high jumper. When I compare her practices to ours, I really would like to change. Just kidding. But, swimming has always been big in my family and my grandfather was a world record holder in the 50s. My parents also were both national champions in Poland, so it is part of my family's tradition.
What would you say to a child, who is learning to swim, and is scared of the water?
Stay out of the water and try another sport, which is not so hard to practice for. Just kidding.