Feature by Stefan Lackner
CLEVELAND, Mississippi, October 14. GERMANY's Christian Hein is next up in our Getting to Know series on European swimmers.
Events: 400 to 10K freestyle
Hobbies: Eating, Puzzles
Club: SG EWR Rheinhessen-Mainz
Coach: Nikolai Evseev
* 7th place 1500m freestyle Youth European Championships Dunkirk
* 6th place 5km European Championships open water Berlin, 9th place 5km World Championships open water Egypt
* 2nd place 5km World Championships open water Barcelona, 2nd place 10km World Championships open water Barcelona
* 10th place 400m freestyle Olympic Games Athens, 12th place 1500m freestyle Olympic Games Athens, 2nd place 5km World Championships open water Dubai, 5th place 10km World Championships open water Dubai
* 8th place 1500m freestyle World Championships Montreal
* 2nd place 5km European Championships Budapest, 3rd place 10km European Championships Budapest
* 5th place 10km World Championships Melbourne
* 5th Place 5km World Championships Sevilla
How was the Olympics experience overall?
Athens was great! The whole feeling, and the many spectators and food was fun, especially with all the other sport stars next to you. Also, the party after the competitions was fun as well.
What has the sport of swimming done for you?
I have stayed healthy, and learned a lot from the world due to swimming.
Was being a professional swimmer a dream of yours?
Yes, since 1994 when I saw the World Championships in Rome on TV.
Did you ever think you would be as successful in your country as you have been?
No, I didn't think I would get to this point. I have a lot of support from my parents, and a few small sponsorships.
With the world getting faster in the sport, who do you see as the next big swim country after the U.S. and Australia?
I think Great Britain and France are rising more and more.
What is your next goal?
I am going to finish my studies as an industrial engineer. For swimming, I have no idea at the moment.
What do you do to prepare before a race?
I listen to music and try to relax.
What is the hardest race you've ever swum?
All 10k open water races are hard, and getting harder and harder because of the rising number of participants. There are about 50 people in some of the races.
Do you ever fear losing a race?
Yes, a lot! But I have also fear of the pain during the race!
Did you ever wish to participate in another sport?
Yes football, because they earn lots of money!
What would you say to a child, who is learning to swim, and is scared of the water?
The water is your friend and not your enemy!