2019 World Championship silver medalist Kristian Gkolomeev has expressed his clear ambition to swim his way to a gold medal in the next Olympic Games, which have been rescheduled for the summer of 2021 in Tokyo.
Gkolomeev spoke with Greek Reporter about his swimming career, his proudest moments and his experiences in competing in the new International Swimming League (ISL) as well.
On being a part of the inaugural year of the ISL, Gkolomeev says “It was very nice, even in its first year. I think it’s going to be amazing in the future.”
He says that he enjoyed competing for the Aqua Centurians swimming team, under Alessandra Guerra as general manager. “Everything was very organized and really great. We just had fun,” he said.
The veteran swimmer also praised Apostolos Tsagkarakis, the former Greek champion and Technical Director of the ISL, for being a good friend and what he calls “an incredible guy.”
Last summer, Gkolomeev won the silver medal for Greece in the men’s 50-meter freestyle race (with a time of 21.45 seconds) at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
“That was amazing. That was the best swimming performance in my career,” he tells Greek Reporter. “In the previous world championship, I came in seventh place and this time, I wanted something better than that. I was really happy and it gives me the motivation to swim better and faster and go for bigger goals.”
Speaking of motivation, each day Gkolomeev says he is driven by his ambition to ultimately win an Olympic gold medal, adding that “I am really training hard for that here in San Diego.”
The 26-year-old Greek athlete had nothing but the highest praise for his swimming coach, David Marsh of Team Elite Aquatics. “It is amazing to train with him. He is very good and very technical. It’s a lot different in San Diego than training in Greece.
“In America, you have a group of 20 to 25 people to train with every day, and that is really important. Everybody that you train with has the same goals, and that is to achieve something big. We have a really good team right here and everybody is pushing each other. We have great facilities and great weather,” he said.
Gkolomeev listed the freestyle as his personal favorite stroke in swimming. “The 50-meter freestyle is my favorite, but I also swim the 100-meter freestyle too,” he says, before adding “I also enjoy the butterfly, especially the 50-meter butterfly.”
Gkolomeev encouraged young and aspiring swimmers simply to “never give up” and to “follow their dreams.” “Swimming is easy to fall in love with. It’s a great sport,” he said with feeling. “If you love swimming, keep training hard,” he added.
Regarding the impact of technology on the sport of swimming, Gkolomeev explains, “Technology has changed it a lot, and I see that a lot here in the United States. Technology is very helpful in training since it gives you immediate feedback with your technique and stroke, both underwater and above water.”
The highly-decorated swimmer also opened up to Greek Reporter about his Greek background. “I grew up in Heraklion, Crete. It was amazing growing up there. I loved it. After my father passed away, I moved to Athens with my uncle and my aunt, and I really launched my swimming career over there.
“I was training in Heraklion but it was really for a hobby and after I moved to Athens, I took my training more seriously, and that was where I fell in love with the sport,” he said.
Gkolomeev subsequently earned a scholarship to swimming hotspot the University of Alabama, and while in college, he even became an NCAA champion, no mean feat in a nation which such a strong swimming tradition.
“Apostolos Tsagkarakis went to that university, so when I went there, I broke his records, which was really ironic. It was nice, since a lot of Greeks went to The University of Alabama,” he adds.
Gkolomeev concluded by expressing his sincere appreciation for his many fans. “Thank you for supporting me. The love and support mean a lot to me since they give me happiness and the energy to keep going,” he said.
To learn more about Greece’s World silver medal-winning swimmer Kristian Gkolomeev, you can follow him on Instagram and check out his Facebook page here.
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