FINA Communications Department

Six-time Olympic medallist Matt Grevers (USA) does not need to be introduced anymore. He is one of the most successful swimmers in the U.S. and the world’s history.

At 34 year-old, the champion is particularly looking forward to racing teammate Ryan Murphy in the men’s 100m back at the ultimate leg of the FINA Champions Swim Series 2019 in Indianapolis (USA):

“I like racing Ryan Murphy in the 100m back. I feel like he is the guy to beat. In the middle of the season everyone is in different areas so I might be more motivated to swim faster in this meet and he might be working really hard too but I would like to beat him nonetheless.”, says Grevers in a friendly and healthy competitive way.

Grevers, currently training in the southern state of Arizona, admitted that never in his long swimming career has he ever tested such an innovative and fun competition set up:

“Unfortunately I didn’t get to go to China for the inaugural meet but I did swim in Budapest. I am super sad about missing Guangzhou because Budapest was such an amazing time. Everyone was super happy which is kind of rare at swimming meets because there is often a lot of disappointment. Everyone has a goal to win, but in this set up, there is a pretty good prize money for all four competitors. Every one still seemed to be happy and that is an awesome environment to be in.”

“The production quality was also super high in Budapest. It was amazing and here in Indianapolis, with this Natatorium, it is great too. Everything about this competition is top-notch. It is just really fun to race in this environment.”

Grevers especially mentioned skipping the heats as one of the strengths of the Champions Swim Series:

“Not having the prelims is so interesting because no one knows what is going to happen at night. There is no feeling and prevision possible. People can’t predict what the swimmers are capable of or not behind the blocks. It would be pretty difficult to pick your winner and that is fun and exciting in itself.”

Grevers insisted on the aspect that the Champions Swim Series provides a real professional stage with elite only-swimmers.

“The Champions Swim Series provides an additional avenue of exposure. To get more sponsors for example and to show your value to more people, more competitions of the kind are crucial, not just one big annual meet or every two years but several meets every year. It will also allow to create a fan base that is invested in us and wants to watch and learn about us and I am not necessarily talking about the swim fans but also get the ones who don’t know the sport interested. This is the environment we are all trying to create. This new meet definitely helps with that with its unique and fun style.”

“The four-lane set up is more intimate. To be invited you have to be an elite swimmer that has taken part in elite events such as the Olympics and the World Championships and to be pretty successful on the higher stage. We know each other and it is a fun grudge match back there. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so it is a race. It is not about clocking your best time, it is about winning. You have to adapt your strategy based on other people’s strengths. It is a mind game at the end of the day. These are a lot of fun factors that come into account. It is fresh and fun and I think the spectators have enjoyed it too.”

FINA has worked hard to enhance the spectators experience at this brand-new competition. Grevers has definitely seen the improvement:

“Spectators have enjoyed themselves and that’s a huge benefit. You want people to be interested in the sport. If there is additional entertainment in between the races, while we are getting ready or setting up or to give the athletes a break when they’re doing multiple events, it is a great way to spread out the meet so it is not done really really fast. It is two shows in one. It is great, you basically get to come here for the swimming and see other forms of entertainment. That is just a good bonus.”

Asked about the relays at the Champions Swim Series, Grevers definitely had a blast in Budapest.

“Trying to figure out the order of the relay and trying to convince each other was good fun behind the blocks. It is one of those things where you want to swim fast but it is not as much pressure.”

Grevers will not stop after Indianapolis and is determined to make the podium in both the World Championships in Gwangju, Korea, this summer and at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games next year.

“I would love to win again. This is why I am still in the sport for this long. I don’t know what else I am going to be as good as in the world outside swimming. If I find another profession I don’t think I will be in the top 0,3% so I want to continue swimming because I like being the best at the highest level.” “In Gwangju and then in Tokyo I will try to win medals and hopefully some golds. I just really want to be on the medal stands.”

In Indianapolis, Grevers is swimming the three distances of the backstroke: 100m back on Friday and the 200m back and 50m back on Saturday.

You can watch all the races Live Streamed on FINAtv.