Meeting Snaefridur Jorunnardottir in the Mixed Zone after competing in the 200m Freestyle heats at the World Swimming Championships (25m), and struggling a bit with the name pronunciation the 22-year-old from Iceland says, “My friends call me Sol.”
Born in Iceland, but now calling Aalborg, Denmark home for some years, Snaefridur Jorunnardottir swam in the 100m and 200m freestyle events, setting new personal best in both for the 25m pool.
A World Aquatics Scholarship holder, the Icelander showed on the world stage she’s more than a heats swimmer, making it to the semifinals in the 100m, where she went on to improve his personal record again with a spot in the finals on the line.
While Jorunnardottir didn’t quite make the 100m freestyle final – one of the most anticipated matchups at the world championships – the Icelander’s racing in Melbourne left something for the imagination to wonder what could come.
My friends call me Sol and I am 22 years old. I was born in Iceland but moved with my family to Aalborg, Denmark when I was 9 years old. In Melbourne I swam the 100m and 200m freestyle events, achieving personal best times in both events. I qualified for the semifinals in the 100m and improved my time again in the second round. My first world championships were Gwangju (KOR) in 2019 and that event didn't go too well, but earlier this year I swam close to my best in Budapest's 100m and 200m freestyle events.
Congratulations on making it to the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne. Is this your first time in Australia?
Yes it's my first time in Australia and it's nice. I thought it was going to be warmer so I was a little shocked by the weather. Even though the first few days were grey and rainy, it really warmed up nicely. I’ll take it: I am sure it's below zero Celsius in Denmark.
From Gwangju 2019 when you made your international debut to Melbourne today, do you have a favourite memory from a previous global aquatics event?
Melbourne is my favourite because it's been really cool to swim in a semifinal for the first time at the World Championships. We had a lot of fun and saw a kangaroo, too.
Yes, congrats on making the semifinal. That is huge. Any more thoughts about your performances at these championships?
I was pleased with both of my performances mostly because I improved my best times in the 100m and 200m freestyle events. Both times were improvements on my own national records.
Are there any traditions or race prep strategies that you consistently apply before you get on the blocks to race?
I listen to music in the call room and try to focus on music. This helps me so I don't get too nervous.
Is there some piece of advice or wisdom that either your coach or a former member of your National Team gave you?
As my coach Bjorn Soerensen says: “A happy swimmer is a fast swimmer.”
I have been training in Denmark under coach Soerensen for almost six years. The Alborg Swim Team has 24 swimmers and it's a really good environment. Another one of our club swimmers is Helena Bach. She’s a member of the Danish team and is also swimming in Melbourne.
You also recently received a World Aquatics Athlete Scholarship to help with your training and racing. How has this helped you progress in your career?
It's been a great opportunity for me to focus on my swimming and make it possible to swim at a high level while being in school at the University of Aalborg. The scholarship has helped me to attend go to training camps and to have my coach with me at some of the big meets so that I can gain experience. We took training camps to Spain twice and I was able to race at the Mare Nostrum in Barcelona this year.
While we’re still at the World Swimming Championships with more racing to go for you here in Melbourne, could you take moment and look ahead to Fukuoka at next year’s World Aquatics Championships?
I'm looking forward to the long course season, after improvements in my short course performances. It's a challenging transition to long course and I am excited to see what happens. I always take things one step at a time and this has been a big step for me. I look forward to going home and then taking a look at what went well and what didn't go well. Then, my coach and I can make a plan for next season.
Contributing: Gregory Eggert