This post was originally written by WJBR Digital Production Intern, Joy Paganucci. Paganucci is a senior Media Communications Honors student at the University of Delaware from New York, NY. Along with being a Digital Content Intern for WJBR, Paganucci also works as Executive Producer for Real Talk, a show on the UD Student Television Network and as an Oral Communications Consultant in the UD Writing Center.
Swimming is one of the top sports that people love to watch during the Olympics. We reached out to some of the most talented swim coaches of Delaware to gain insight on what to look out for at the Swimming Olympics Games in Tokyo 2021.
Pablo Marmolejo, University of Delaware Swimming & Diving Head Coach, is excited to see how different strategies will play out for the men’s 200 Breaststroke. He acknowledges there’s more to these races than meets the eye. “At a meet like this, times really aren’t as important as your ability to race your heat,” Coach Marmolejo said. “Most of the elite athletes right now are focusing on what they can control and how they can mentally prepare for the 7-day competition, travel, media circus, and visualize their own races. It really is a mental challenge more than a physical one at this point.”
Coach Marmolejo discusses how we will see a lot of new faces this year at the Olympics. “[It’s the] first Olympics in 20 years without Phelps and Lochte,” said Marmolejo. “We have a very young team. As bad as COVID was, it definitely gave those young talents time to develop an extra year and make the team. It also added an extra year to the more seasoned swimmers.”
Matthew Aungst, Delaware Swim Team Coach, points out the young swimmers that will be interesting to watch: 17 year old Lydia Jacoby from Alaska competing in the 100 breast, 15 year old Katie Grimes from the Las Vegas area competing in the 800 free, and 17 year old Claire Curzan from the Raleigh, NC, area competing in the 100 fly.
Coach Aungst brings attention to 22 year old U.S. Olympic Swimmer Michael Andrew. “One interesting thing in the swimming world has been the training of Michael Andrew, who will be competing in the 100 breast and 200 IM,” Coach Aungst said. “Andrew is the most prominent athlete to follow Ultra Short Race Pace Training (USRPT), which is basically all-out effort with a lot of rest, almost mimicking races with each practice.”
Coach Marmolejo is also excited to watch the Women’s Mid-Distance Free (200-400) as Australia’s top swimmers, Ariarne Titmus, is very close to Katie Ledecky’s world record.
The world is looking forward to watching everything play out. If you’re rooting for USA, stay optimistic! “Our U.S. team has the advantage there as US Olympic trials are more stressing for them than the actual Olympics.” Coach Marmolejo said.