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GermanyGermany, GER


Further Personal Information

Date of birth
16 November 1983
180 cm
64 kg
Berlin, GER
Higher education
Environmental Engineering - University of Applied Sciences: Berlin, GER

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She first swam at age five and in 1990 started swimming at the SSV PCK 90 club in Schwedt, Germany.
Why this sport?
At the age of five, she used to hang around the pool and was desperate to get into the water. After being given her first swimsuit she learnt to swim within four weeks.

General Interest

Reading, listening to music. (NOC 2004)
Hero / Idol
Russian swimmer Alexander Popov. (Super Illu, 17 Aug 2006)
She had an illness at the 2013 World Championship trials in April that allowed her to swim only once at the meet. However, she was still chosen to compete at the World Championships in Barcelona, Spain. (, 30 Apr 2013)

She suffered from several health problems in 2010, including shoulder problems and a sinus inflammation. She missed the 2010 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary because of bronchitis. All year she was unable to train 10 days in a row at any point of the year. (, 03 Aug 2010; FINA Aquatics World Magazine, 23 Oct 2010)

A bout of flu forced her to miss the 2006 European Short Course Championships in Helsinki, Finland. (1asport, 04 Dec 2006)

In October 2006 she broke two fingers during a training camp. (Eurosport, 23 Nov 2006)

She sustained a foot injury at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. (, 14 Jul 2011)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
During competition she wears a ring that her two brothers gave her. (Super Illu, 17 Aug 2006)
Awards and honours
In 2008 she was named the Athlete of the Year and the Swimmer of the Year. She was also decorated with the annual German audience and media award Goldene Henne. (, 14 Jul 2011)

Named by the German Swimming Federation as Swimmer of the Year for 2006. (Schwimmen Aktuell, 02 Feb 2007)
Other information
She retired from the sport in September 2013. (, 27 Sep 2013)

She says she swam the first 50 metres of the 100m freestyle final at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing with her eyes closed to avoid being distracted by her opponents. She came from behind to beat Libby Trickett of Australia and win gold. (, 28 Aug 2008)

After the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, personal problems almost forced her to quit the sport. Her coach tried to convince her to continue but she took a year off and sought the help of a psychologist. The psychologist told her to separate between the athlete and the person and that bad results didn't mean that she was a bad person. She went back into the pool in August 2005, won the 50m and 100m freestyle at the German Championships and at the 2006 European Championships she won four gold medals and set three world records. (Stern, 01 Nov 2006)