As Polish National Team Returns to Water, Marcin Cieslak Surprised By Form

Marcin Cieslak while at the University of Florida. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Members of the Polish national swim team have been back in the pool in full training mode after serving their quarantine during the coronavirus. Starting in early May during Phase I of reopening, the Ministry of Sport in Poland opened up two training centers for athletes with the swimmers included. The national team was split up into two groups and was training twice a day in a 25m pool.

After three weeks of training there, the country hit Phase II of reopening and the Polish Swimming Federation was allowed to organize a swim camp in a 50m pool. The national senior and junior teams are currently training in Lodz, about an hour from Warsaw, at the local Polytechnic University.

Approximately 60 swimmers from both the national and junior team are back training in Lodz, with the team split up in two groups. The junior team goes first and then the senior team with a maximum three people allowed in a lane.

“We are split into two groups and can’t mix with each other at the pool, at the gym, or in the hotel and the dining hall,” said Polish national team swimmer Marcin Cieslak. “When we enter the pool we have to sanitize our hands and we get a temperature check by an onsite doctor.”

Cieslak had been in quarantine with Radoslaw Kawecki and Filip Zaborowski at Kawecki’s mother’s house in the Polish countryside, where the three of them did their own strength, power and conditioning training. After being out of the water for so long, Cieslak was unsure what being back in the pool would feel like, especially coming at the latter end of his career at age 28. But he said being back training was not as bad as he expected.

“I think we’d done a good job training during the break,” Cieslak said. “We feel much stronger now and as the feel of the water gets better and better each day, we feel that the break didn’t hurt us as much as we (feared it would).”

The Polish national swim team had been looking at 2020 as a big year for the team. The aforementioned Kawecki had won European short course gold in the 200 backstroke in December, and believed that this year’s national team was the strongest it had been in years, with the big reason being the team atmosphere.

“We used to train separately and now we train more as a group,” Radoslaw Kawecki told Swimming World on his training camp in January. “Before London (2012), we had a similar setup to this and it worked well.”

Being back together as a team again in Lodz has been beneficial for the Polish swimmers, Cieslak noted.

“Everyone missed swimming and each other so there’s a lot of excitement going on during workouts. This weekend, we had a little intrasquad meet and the times we were dropping were impressive.”

Poland is not the only national swim team that has returned to training. Russia and Great Britain have both been back in the pool at camps, while many more around the world are starting to dip their feet in the water again.

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