The Slovenia Times

Memorable Madrid



Anja Carman twice won silver, in the 800 m Freestyle and 200 m Backstroke, another silver went to Alenka Kejzar in the 200 m Breaststroke and Anja Klinar won a bronze medal in the 400 m Individual Medley. The only medal won by the men was a bronze won by Matjaz Markic in the 50 m Breaststroke. A very good lead-in to August's Olympic Games to be held in Athens. The return of Anja ?arman Anja Carman, who trains and studies in the USA, is just 19 years old and already has had many ups and downs in her career. In 2001 she won a gold medal in the 25-metre pool in Antwerp. The next two years brought little success for the young swimmer from Skofja Loka, she even had thoughts of retirement after the disappointment of last year's World Championships in Barcelona. Bright Prospects Anja Klinar, the 16-year-old from Jesenice, is the biggest talent in Slovene swimming. In Madrid, she was only beaten in the 400 m Medley by two real superstars, Ukrainian Jana Klockova and Eva Risztov of Hungary. She has previously won European junior titles in both the 200 and 400 m IM. Matjaz Markic has made a huge improvement in the last 12 months, being a full second faster now than in May 2003. Three years ago in Malta, at the European Junior Championships, he won silver in the 50 m Breaststroke. Now the young man from Koper, who studies in Ljubljana, wants to go on to become world champion. Alenka Kejzar was one of the favourites for a medal in the 200 m Medley, but was forced to withdrew from her semi-final due to ill health. ''I really didn't expect much in the 200 m Breaststroke, but I was very relaxed and everything came together for me,'' said the 25-year-old from Radovljica, after the sensational Mirna Jukic from Austria beat her into second. She's coached by Ciril Globocnik in Slovenia and by Steve Collins when she's in the USA, where she finished her studies at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She aims to swim personal bests in Athens and will start her preparations in Slovenia on July 18th. The Games will reveal the true picture Other Slovene swimmers also made names for themselves, Blaz Medvesek was fourth in the 100 m Backstroke and Peter Mankoc used these championships as preparation for the Olympics. Many commentators made the point that most of the world elite were not in Madrid. So if Slovenian swimmers can win their first ever Olympic medal in August, then maybe these critics will stand up and take notice. Highlights of Slovene Swimming Darjan and Borut Petric twice won 3 medals at the European Championships, in 1981 in Split and two years later in Rome. Since independence Slovene swimmers have won a further three medals at those championships - all bronze: Igor Majcen in the 1,500 m Freestyle (1993, Sheffield), Metka Sparavec in the 50 m Backstroke (1999, Istanbul) and Alenka Kejzar in the 200 m Medley (2002, Berlin).


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