When those four in the relay is all you’ve got

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So two of our age group swimmers are doing well at the Icelandic Long Course Championships these days, Óli Mortensen twice posting a Faroese 400 freestyle junior record (now 4:06.74) and a 16:18.15 Faroese 1500 freestyle junior record in the shadow of Pál Joensen, and Markus Joensen managing a 2:37.87 Faroese senior and junior record in the 200 breaststroke. Both born in 1996, entering the Faroese/European junior age group next season – and both at peak junior age when the Nordic Junior Championships will be here in the Faroe Islands in December, 2013.

Markus Joensen & Óli Mortensen, courtesy of Óli Gardshodn

These guys are instrumental to us having any kind of success at these home championships, come 2013. They and Pál Joensen’s kid brother Eyðbjørn, and Alvi Hjelm from Klaksvík, plus a couple of talented girls. Because with them we have a somewhat realistic chance of winning medals … and without them, we have nothing.

Most of us have probably been there, where you only have the 4 swimmers in a relay, or no relay at all. Now imagine that they are not even ‘yours’, as in they get to train together in your club, but from the 3 major competing swimming clubs in your country. The ones that have a 25 meter pool. And that there are no other active swimmers in the country born that year, at all (!). That there were 1-2 maybe 3 other active swimmers born that year in the country as a whole back in 2010, but that the number has diminished to only these 4 with one and a half year to go until the big home meet, and only 3-4 born in 1997. That is our situation.

Of course, we ‘only’ need for one of them to perform well at the meet in 2013, to have at least one good individual result. But some of us dare to hope for a good result in the relays, as to show ‘depth’ in our ranks, if you could call it ‘depth’ to have the only 4 still existing performing well.

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Fortunately, they are all really good, in comparison with other Nordic swimmers at their age, especially in the long distance freestyle and the breaststroke. So we have a shooting chance of a high-quality 4×200 freestyle and maybe a medley relay, plus whatever they and the girls can manage individually. If they get that far, that is.

These are the kinds of hurdles that you run into, when you are tiny-tiny. ‘Failure is not an option’, as some would say, the only good thing to say about our situation, that we have no other option. We don’t have the luxury of letting one of these go, if he should behave badly, without killing the relay. We don’t even have the luxury of being able to not select one of these guys because of a missed qualification cut, if we want our relay, and I’m quite sure that everyone involved knows this. Which I under normal circumstances would think was the perfect recipe for disaster, but which fortunately seems to work anyhow, somehow.

Anyways, crossing fingers here … and darn happy every time they improve ! :-)

Key performances of our young guns
(25m results, since that is what we’re most used to, having no long course pool)

  • Óli Mortensen (Tórshavn) – 15:53.39 in the 1500 free, 4:01.40 in the 400 free, 1:55.55 in the 200 free
  • Eyðbjørn Joensen (Vágur) – 16:19.88 in the 1500 free, 4:05.24 in the 400 free, 1:56.58 in the 200 free
  • Alvi Hjelm (Klaksvík) – 16:17.35 in the 1500 free, 4:09.56 in the 400 free, 1:59.61 in the 200 free
  • Markus Joensen (Tórshavn) – 4:32.00 in the 400 free, 2:08.25 in the 200 free, 2:29.00 in the 200 breast

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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  1. Pingback: CC photo #106: Overdressed medal presenter at a swim meet in Klaksvík | Swimmer's Daily

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