Sara, the swimmer from Poland11 May, 2017
My name is Sara. I am 16 years old and I come from Warsaw, Poland. I'm a high school student. I have been training swimming for almost 10 years. I have 10 trainings a week. I train with five other members of the swimming team. My coach is great and I think he is the best. My trainings are two-hours-long and I have them in the morning and in the afternoon. At the beginning of July I’m going to participate in a swimming competition at the 20th Maccabiah in Israel. I usually swim freestyle and backstroke. Twice a year we have Polish Swimming Championships. The event is usually held in March each year in a short course (25 m) swimming pool and in July in a long course (50 m) swimming pool.
Swimming competitions are held on both short (25 m) and long (50 m) courses.
There are four main styles: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Freestyle races are from 50m to 1500m for men and for women up to 800m. Butterfly backstroke and breaststroke you can swim from 50m to 200m. There is also medley stroke which involves swimming all four strokes in a particular order - in the relay medley the order goes backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly then freestyle - in the individual medley, the order goes butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke then freestyle. The distances are 100m, 200m and 400m.
For me the most arduous are 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley as these are events which test your strength and technique. In 400 IM you have to use so many different muscle groups that you do not realize they even exist. The average number of kilometres to swim per week is 35 where at least 10 is minimum. This is much more than if you were walking, our legs swim more kilometres than if we were walking so it's normal that swimmers don't like to and don't know how to run.
Currently in Poland we have several good swimmers, but I must say that swimming is not very popular here. We have re-established Makabi club in Poland, but it could not be compared to the pre-war Makabi by capabilities and massive participation.
Pre-war Jewish sport is generally unknown, but it is worth to remember that Jewish athletes established more than 30 individual Polish records, won 84 titles of individual champions and 24 team titles. At that time the Makabi Association in Poland associated 200 thousand members in 150 clubs. Before the WWII the best swimming club was in Bielsko. Swimming was such a popular discipline there that the Polish Swimming Association planned to organize championships of Poland there. One of the most famous swimmers was Gertrude Dawidowicz, from Jewish Sports Club Hakoah Bielsko, a pre-war multichampion swimmer free-style and a representative of Poland in swimming. She was only 12 when became a champion, you can see her statue placed by the entrance gate to the outdoor swimming pool in Bielsko-Biala. There was also Ilja Szrajbman , an Olympian from Berlin, a record holder and a Polish representative in swimming. From the early 1930s until the war, he participated in the first swimming championship in Poland for the club ZASS (Academic Association and Jewish Sportique) and Legia swimming team. He was killed during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The heroic story of Ilya Szradbana is part of very poorly known area of pre-war Warsaw - Jewish sport. So, I can say that now I have a huge opportunity to be part of Polish-Jewish swimming history. There will be no better time to try than now.