Andreas Waschburger, Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Hopeful

Andreas Waschburger, Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Hopeful

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Open Water Source will look at all the 2012 Olympic hopefuls and dark horses in the series of perspectives on this year’s Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the London Olympics.

Fans of the sport know well gold medal favorites like Keri-Anne Payne, Martina Grimaldi, Thomas Lurz and Spyridon Gianniotis, but there are also several up-and-coming swimmers whose training and commitment, mixed with luck and the right conditions on race day, will enable them to realize their dreams of standing on the Olympic podium.

Those dreams will come true for at least one dark horse on August 9th (women) and August 10th (men) in Hyde Park during the 2012 London Olympics.

There is no truer maxim in open water swimming than “expect the unexpected.”

And we expect to see some surprises at the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim where hopefuls and dark horses can do – WILL DO – the swim of their lives to capture a bit of Olympic glory.

Andreas Waschburger from Germany, who is always in the shadows of countryman Thomas Lurz, is one of those athletes.

His coach, Hannes Vitense, talks about the up-and-comer. “Andreas is a very strong athlete and a young open water swimmer. Three years ago we started with some spacial workouts for open water swimming – and he learn very fast. He trains very hard in this special workouts. Two years ago, we decide that it could be possible to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics, but we both knew that it is only be possible [to do so] in Shanghai [at the 2011 World Championships] because of Thomas Lurz.”

Because of the FINA Olympic qualification rules, Hannes knew that the only hope for qualifying for the Olympics was to place in the top 10 at the 2011 World Championships. “Thomas is one of the best in the world and he would qualify for London. [Therefore] we made a plan for this three-year period leading up to the world championships. This plan included hard races all over the world including World Cup races and European Championships. The first European Championships in 2010 were the first chance for Andreas to qualify for Shanghai, but he finished 17th and missed the qualification. His last chance was the World Cup race in Hong Kong where he had to finish in the top 6. He finished sixth.”

Then he had to compete in a three-race series against the other top German swimmers in Brazil, Mexico and Israel. “We both knew it was possible to qualify and he ultimately finished in the top 10 in Shanghai. So anything is possible in London.”

Some of Andreas‘s training sessions gives strong hints of his potential in the sport:

Workout #1 Main Set
100m easy
4×100 – (50m kick – 50m free) with snorkel + 10” P
4×50 – zoomers (20m fast – 30 easy) at 0.50
4×200 – free pull Pad – at 2.30
2×1200 – 1. fins (100 butterfly, 100 IM, 200 free) all easy + 20 seconds
2. free (300 arms, 100 free full stroke) all easy + 20 seconds
100m easy
3 times
600m free arms at 7.20
2x200m IM at 2.55
2 times
600m free arms at 7.10
8x50m (first: free at 0.40 / second: butterfly at 0.50)
200 easy for a total of 9,000m

Workout #2
100m easy
(race pace)
3000 (300 arms – 200 full stroke (200 free-200 IM) easy – with pace maker + 30” P
1500 finger pad – (300m easy – 100m fast – 100m faster) + 30” P with pace maker (overdistance – 2 times)
3×500 at 6.00
10×200 at (6x 2.30´ / 4x at 2.25)
15×100 (3x at 1.15 / 2x at 1.10) – 3 easy – 2 fast
10×50 at 0.40 fast
300 easy

But his training is not limited to the pool. Like his Australian rival Ky Hurst, Andreas does some special training including kickboxing is two times a week and dryland training 3 times a week with a group with very strong triathletes and runners. He also does LnB Motion, a special workout helpful for his mobility.

Some athletes, like Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria or Chip Peterson of the USA, not only have an innate DNA for the open water and an instinctively high navigational IQ, but they also have a mind that is well-suited to pushing themselves to the limit in the open water. Andreas is that type of athlete. Hannes explains, “He has talent for long distances in the open water. He is mentally very strong and is a very hard worker during his training sessions.”

The 20-year-old is studying to be a police officer – a profession that his fellow German Olympian marathon swimmer Angela Maurer has achieved. “He is very friendly and knows exactly what he wants in life and in sport including parachute jumping that he occasionally does.”

Come August 10th in the shadows of Buckingham Palace, look for the risk-taking hard worker from Germany to be in the lead pack. Andreas has the right tools, mentally and physically, and knows what he wants. Stay tuned.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones