I must confess that Alexander Dale Oen’s 100 breast victory in Shanghai was one of the most beautiful moments in my time in swimming, only days after the Utøya killings, and with the Norwegian swimming team trying to cope at the very hotel where we the Faroese were also staying. A terrible tragedy unleashing a furious first 50 meters, and a strong second half determined to win for his country.
Now it turns out that this swim hit both favorite Kosuke Kitajima and Hugues Duboscq really hard, almost into doubting that they could swim at all. “I don’t know how to get ahead. I’m afraid to go on”, Kitajima said according to asahi.com, but then turned to his old coach Norimasa Hirai, to get his technique back in order, enough to win silver in the 200. Duboscq didn’t even make it past the semi, his technique “completely broken down“, making him turn away from his long-time Greek coach Christos Paparrodopoulos.
Others must fall for one to conquer, but this was something else. Alex simply had to win for anything to make sense at that moment, and thankfully he did.