With the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships getting underway tomorrow and running all week in Lima, Peru, we're in for some exciting days at the pool. With over 500 competitors from nearly 100 countries ready to compete in the Peruvian capital, here's some standout soundbites from the opening press conference.
David Popovici - Romania
"Lima is a very interesting place and it has been a pleasure to visit this city. I like the Peruvian people that I have met because they are so friendly. I know that Peru will be a great host because the organization of this event is professional and the aquatic center is impressive. I encourage everyone to come to enjoy the show and to cheer for your swimmers and for all of the international swimmers who are in Lima for this event."
On Expectation Setting:
"For this meet, like most events, I never set any expectations. The goals are to simply have fun, enjoy, swim fast and to make the most of the great atmosphere. With your support and cheers that is going to help each of us to become the best version of ourselves, by swimming fast and having fun."
On Dwelling Upon Past Accomplishments:
"It is not often that I am thinking about the past, but I am always thinking of the future. The future is imagination, and the past is gone. My performance in Rome was the fruits of our hard work. We don't focus on the times but we focus on our potential to swim faster.
"The future is step by step and built brick by brick; there are many technical aspects that require our attention and they are a lot of work. Occasionally we can do something very nice. Breaking a world record is cool, but the potential to be faster has no limits. So why would we put a limit on ourselves when we know that we can achieve a lot?"
On Coaching Chemistry:
"The chemistry between a coach (Adrian Radulescu) and an athlete is a very important one. The one-on-one connection is very important. You have heard the expression: ‘If it ain't broke, why try to fix it?'"
On Last Goals as a Junior:
"I think i may have done everything I wanted to do as a junior swimmer, but let's just see what we can do and maybe we can surprise ourselves this week."
Alexia Sotomayor - Peru
On Family and Friends Coming to Watch the Competitions:
“I have many friends and family who will be watching this week. I hope that people will come hoping to see me and my teammates swim, and perhaps we will win something in our home pool. My teammates and so many of the rest of the athletes are more than prepared for this event and we all appreciate your support; it surely motivates me.”
On Competing at Home:
“An athlete has a very important responsibility when competing in your hometown, and to race against so many great swimmers is a great opportunity. Everyone here has goals and if you dream it you can make it.
Everyone is going to prove what they are made of at the world juniors this week. The emotions and the adrenaline that all sports bring is something that Peruvian swimmers embrace. As junior swimmers, we are always learning new things and setting new goals for ourselves that will help us in our future.”
Alia Atkinson - Retired Athlete (Jamaica), FINA Bureau Member and Chair of the FINA Athletes' Committee
On the Athletes Competing in Lima Inspiring the Next Generation of Swimmers:
"It is spectacular to be here and to witness the events that FINA inaugurated in 2006. Young athletes are afforded early exposure to international competition that will advance their maturity and enhance their education of the sport. It’s tremendous to see Alexia and David and many others of their age vying for a spot at the top of the podium. This will inspire many others in their own country or across their continent to say ‘I can do it!'"
Dale Neuburger - FINA Treasurer
On the Hosts:
"Lima is a fantastic city and offers a great facility that almost 500 of the world’s top swimmers will enjoy during a week of competition. FINA appreciates the work of the Peruvian Swimming Federation, the Local Organizing Committee and to Legado, the organization formed to preserve the legacy of the 2019 Pan American Games that were held at the Videna Aquatic Centre."
On What Fans Can Expect at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships:
“Fans can expect to witness great competition across all of the Olympic events and the enthusiasm from the audience will ensure the success of these athletes as they transition from national and continental competition to the world’s stage of FINA and Olympic events. You will see many of these swimmers at the 2024 Paris and the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.”
Augusto Enrique del Aguila Rios - President of the Local Organising Committee
“I wish to extend a welcome to FINA Athletes' Committee Chair Alia and especially to the young athletes, including those who are with us today. Alexia and David and the many athletes coming from 80 countries of the world are truly remarkable and you will be inspired by their performances.”
Nikola Ustadvich Velez - President of the Peru Swimming Federation
"Thanks for being our guests from across the world and to enjoy what Lima offers. We invite you to be present for a week of great competition that will feature performances from Peru’s own Alexia Sotomayor and the sensational David Popovici from Romania."
Federico Tong - Executive Director of Legado
"Thank you from the Peruvian people. This is an important event and we are proud to host an event like this featuring world-class athletes. Sports are important to Peruvians; Alexia and David and many others like them will excite and inspire their many peers and those who come to watch. We are proud to have a great venue like this to attract the world's best swimmers and we are so very proud of Alexia.”
Quotes compiled by Gregory Eggert.