Franziska Weidner Representing Germany in 2018 FINA World Cup
Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

By Kate Santilena, Swim World College Intern.

From Germany to the Hawaiian Islands

Searching for a way to continue her swimming career while at the same time gaining an education, Franziska Weidner looked to leave her home country of Germany to attend school in the United States. She felt a personal connection to the Hawaiian islands and knew she would be happy spending the next few years of her life there.


Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

Fast forwarding four years, Weidner finished up her collegiate eligibility during the 2017-18 season for the University of Hawaii as a five-time school record holder and two-time NCAA Division One national championships qualifier. Her school records consist of the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke, 100 yard backstroke, 200 yard IM and 200 yard freestyle. She helped lead her team to a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Conference Championship in Los Angeles, Calif. before representing the University of Hawaii’s Rainbow Wahine in the NCAA swim meet.

At this past year’s NCAA competition, she finished in the top eight of finals in the 100 yard breaststroke and increased her ranking in the 200 IM and 200 breaststroke. This might seem like the prime time to hang up the goggles and be satisfied with her work; however, Weidner has decided that she is not yet done with the sport of swimming.

Continuing to Make a Mark


Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

Weidner continued her training after NCAAs and competed this past summer in Berlin, Germany at the German Nationals swimming competition. She placed third in the finals of the 100 LCM freestyle and 200 LCM IM races. She also went on to final in the 50 and 100 LCM breaststroke. Furthermore, Weidner contributed to her relay team placing third at the German Nationals in the 800 LCM freestyle relay. These accomplishments helped her solidify her spot on Germany’s FINA World Cup team.

Weidner is currently training every day alongside the University of Hawaii’s team to now represent her country of Germany this upcoming November in the 2018 FINA World Cup. This swim meet will have three different stops to its journey, including Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore. Each portion of the tri meet will take place one week apart, allowing the international participants time to travel and adjust to the time zone.

What is to Come for Weidner

Weidner freestyle swimming

Photo Courtesy: Jonas Gutzat

Contrary to the process of selecting athletes for events in the U.S. for the FINA World Cup, Germany’s team takes a collaborative approach. A combination of the German Swimming Federation, the German national coaches, the University of Hawaii coaches and Weidner herself will collaborate over the events in which she will compete. At this point, she assumes she will be competing in the 100 and 200 SCM breaststroke, the 100 and 200 SCM IM and be a part of Team Germany’s relays. However, her events will not be confirmed until the FINA World Cup draws closer.

For the first of the three swimming meets of the FINA World Cup, her former assistant coach at the University of Hawaii will be accompanying her to Beijing. For the following two meets in Tokyo and Singapore, Weidner will be on her own with the German flag plastered to her swim cap. Weidner is excited to see what she can do at this international level meet, and although training has been tough so far with the University of Hawaii, she knows that it will pay off for her in the future.

“This is my first time representing Germany at an international competition, so I feel very honored and looking forward to some good racing,” Weidner says.

After this international competition, Weidner plans to continue swimming with the University of Hawaii and representing Germany in future national level swim meets. She is currently at the University of Hawaii finishing her last year of her undergraduate degrees. As a double major in psychology and kinesiology and rehabilitation sciences, she currently is holding a 3.94 overall grade point average and was recently awarded the University of Hawaii’s Jack Bonham Award of athletic excellence and academic achievement in their last school banquet.

Even with all of these prestigious accomplishments, Weidner continues to be humble and determined to further her swimming career. With her team, family, and friends supporting her, there is no telling how far Weidner will go in the competitive sport of swimming.

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