German, born in 2002, as you can see always smiling in pictures, Johanna Schikora, already owner of the Junior World Record in 1500sf, then broken again in July during the Finswimming Junior European Championships in Turkey with the time of 13:27.82 (wow). On the VDST page we see that you are swimming from 2014, and after 2 years you joined the National Finswimming Team, 10-12 training sessions per week, and you swim from 100sf to 1500sf.
Now we want to know a little more than what is written on the internet. For this reason, welcome to Finswimmer Magazine, seat, relax and answer to our few questions 🙂
1. In 2014 you were only 12 yo! The best age to begin a sport like finswimming. How did it happen? And tell us your career until now.
At this age I played the piano intensively, so I was sitting all day long – at school and in my piano lessons. Because of this, I wanted to get active. My mother looked up a diving club because water always was my element. Then we discovered the tc fez where I am now, which offers diving and finswimming.
After the first practise I was very enthusiastically! I started to do the sport as a balance to my daily life. At this time I told my mother: “I will never ever swim at a competition! I will do this just for fun.” Obviously, this changed very fast haha. My first competition was in 2015 and the sport got more and more important for me. I had so much fun while swimming and with my team, and because I got better. Now I am here and I’m sure that it was a right decision.
2. Tell us something about your life, what do you do (studies)? What would you like to do in the future? Hobbies?
I am doing the “Abitur”, the highest examination in our school system. Because Finswimming isn’t an olympic sport, I would not be accepted on a sport school in Berlin. So I visit a normal school, we don’t have so much time for practise like sport schools. But right now, I don’t have to go to school everyday because the students are preparing for the exams. Some days I can practise twice a day now.
Additionally, I play the piano. Now this is the „balance“ to my school and sport life 😉 Furthermore, I like to do other sports in my free-time like running.
After my exams I will concentrate on the sport. Then I want to visit foreign countries, do some work and travel and explore the world. After all I want to study, but I’m not sure what and where.
3. In July 2018 you broke for the second time in few month the Junior World Record in 1500sf! Which emotions did you feel? And how did you get it?
I was incredibly overwhelmed. (I am even overwhelmed today haha.) The first time I broke it in Leipzig. The time was 28 seconds under my best time before.
It was not sure that the German team could participate at the European Junior Championships in Istanbul. Additionally, our swimming pool was closed and we could not train much before this competition. It was a great relief when we knew that we could go there!
After the first day, my coach and I were not satisfied with my result. But the 1500 sf were a new race, so I tried again with new motivation.
That I broke my record again showed me that all the work, every training session, every percent that I gave more payed off! I cannot describe my feelings as I finished the 1500 m, heard my screaming team, saw the time and heard the people clapping!
By the way, I’m very happy that I decided to swim at competitions 😀
Moments like this help me in bad phases. Then I remember that I can reach everything when I really want it.
4. This year the Junior World Championships will take place in Egypt, are you ready? What are you going to expect from it? Will you take part to the Senior European Championships in Greece too?
I‘m always ready 😉 I never was there so it’s a new experience for me!
It’s my last junior year so I set myself goals that I want to achieve. The World Junior Championships in Egypt will be a great opportunity for that.
Of course I’m always happy to meet all the people again there. I love the athmosphere at international competitions. The best athletes from the whole world are at one place. That’s so great.
One goal is to participate at the Senior European Championships, so I really hope I will be there!
5. This is a question we must make to every finswimmer we interview: who is your “finswimming hero”? Your point of reference?
Of course I have some people that come to my mind at this point. I remember Adam Bukor because he was the one that the little 14-year-old Johanna saw at her first Junior World Championships in Annemasse 😉 I wanted to change caps but I didn’t dare to talk to him … now I do that. That‘s quite funny for me.
Another person is Jan Malkowski – a former world record holder from my team who is doing Life Saving now. It’s great that he is so relaxed and funny, I think this is way better than always look grim and mean.
6. Tell us what do you like about Finswimming? And what you don’t.
I really like the speed. It looks beautiful when finswimmers are swimming next to each other, it’s very exciting to watch! I like the special combination of strength, condition and the right technique a sportsman need to be fast. For this reason, I think that the sport is very demanding.
I probably don’t like the prejudice that we are mermaids who are swimming with make up and a tail fin …
And I think a big problem is also that the sportsmen don’t get the support and attention they deserve. They achieve so much and only few people know about it. We are not able to set a financial foundation for our life with our dream sport, that‘s sad.
But if there would be important points that I don’t like about the sport as itself, I wouldn’t do that sport so intensively.
7. What would you do to make Finswimming more popular?
We try our best to get more attention for our sport. The problem is that we have to ask the newspaper or the TV if they could make an article about us, not the other way around like it’s normal. I’m engaged to tell all the people in my environment about that great sport! And by the time, most of them I already convinced that it’s beautiful.
8. Free topic, tell us what you want!
I‘m so happy that you asked me to answer the questions! That’s a honour for me. I’m looking forward to the next competitions and I’m excited to meet all the people again!
We should all working on making Finswimming more popular in the whole world. May our sport one day get the attention it deserves!