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article imageChatting with Katrina Konopka: American swimmer, elite clinician Special

By Markos Papadatos     May 18, 2020 in Sports
American swimmer Katrina Konopka chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos while quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also an elite clinician of the Fitter & Faster swim clinics.
"At first, the pandemic was pretty hard, the postponement of the Olympics was pretty scary; however, I have begun to recognize the benefits of this time out of the water," she said. "I am using it as a time to recover and to prepare myself mentally for this upcoming year. I am able to challenge myself with new exercises on land I would not otherwise be doing. The quarantine has given me a chance to truly reflect on why I love the sport and how I can become the best swimmer I can be."
When asked what she loves most about swimming, she responded, "There are a few things I love about swimming- the first being the comradery with my teammates. I love that swimmers everywhere are truly one big swimming family and we all have a common thread that connects us. I also love that every day I am able to challenge myself to become not only the best athlete but the best person I can be. Whether I am having a great set or struggling, I think swimming has taught me very valuable lessons in dealing with success and failure."
Each day, she is motivated by her love for swimming, as well as becoming "the best swimmer and person" she can be. "I know even on the hardest days that I will be able to get faster and build character," she said.
On the impact of technology on the sport of swimming, Konopka said, "I think technology has really opened up a lot of doors for exploration in the sport. The expanding technology has taught us so many things about how each person can individualize their strokes, recovery, and training to make it the most effective it can possibly be."
"I personally love using video analysis to watch my races after I have swum them," she admitted. "I am able to find the details that can give me that extra .1 of a second for my next races. The changing technological climate has given us all a new and exciting way to look at the sport."
For young and aspiring swimmers, she recommended that they always believe in themselves. "There is never any dream that is too big if you continually pour your heart into all that you do to achieve that goal. Continual hard work and belief in yourself can allow you to do great things," she said.
Konopka listed the freestyle as her personal favorite stroke. "I love it because there are so many technical aspects to the stroke that can continually be changed in order to allow you to be the fastest you can be in the water. I can always experiment during workouts, especially during longer aerobic sets," she explained.
Regarding her proudest professional moments in the sport, she remarked, "My proudest moment in swimming would have to be in Windsor, Canada. I was selected to be the anchor leg of the 200 meter medley relay for Team USA. Behind the blocks, our relay team's energy was electric."
"We all knew we were about to do something incredible- after the first three legs the US had a slight lead. I knew I had to finish what my teammates started. I swam the 50 meter freestyle, touched the wall, and looked up at my teammates. They reached down and pulled me out of the water to give me a hug because the U.S. had won a World Championships gold medal and had just set a new world record. Thinking about standing on the podium while the U.S. flag rose across the pool and we sang the national anthem, still gives me goosebumps to this day," she elaborated.
Konopka defined the word success as follows: "Success means being the best you can possibly be at any given time. Some days, I may not have an outstanding workout but I find success in making one small change during the workout. Maybe its adding another dolphin kick off my walls or not breathing into my flip turns. I find that success is not necessarily doing something incredible every day- but being able to build yourself up through the small things," she concluded.
More about Katrina Konopka, Swimmer, fitter & faster, clinician
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