The opening day of the 19th FINA World Championships is just around the corner. Here’s what some of the top athletes in swimming, artistic swimming, open water and water polo had to stay before competing in Budapest
Yui Ohashi | Swimming | Japan
The first Japanese woman to win multiple Olympic gold medals, looking to build on the silver she won here in Budapest in 2017
“I have good memories from this pool (won silver in 2017) and I’m feeling honoured to be here again. I have high expectations from myself though I’m not sure if I can get gold medals at these championships. I’ll do my best to compete with my fellow rivals here.”
Florian Wellbrock | Swimming & Open Water | Germany
The last time we saw Wellbrock compete in an international competition, he set the 1500m World Record at the 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m). The twenty-four-year-old German is the reigning gold medallist in both the Olympic open water 10km and FINA World Championships 1500m in the pool.
“It’s great to be back to Budapest. It’s not going to be easy to retain my titles here, neither in the pool or in open water. I’m really excited to race here.
On training with his Ukrainian rival Mykhailo Romanchuk
“Romanchuk is a good friend of mine. Everybody understands the situation in Ukraine so (after the war broke out) I immediately invited him to train with me in Germany. We had great sessions though I saw how hard it was to him to focus on swimming when his family was still in Ukraine. Still, I hope to see some good results from him at these World Championships.”
KRISZTIAN MANHERCZ | WATER POLO | HUNGARY
Playing the wing position, the Hungarian has a full array of medals in major water polo competitions, most recently bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, silver at the 17th FINA World Championships 2017 and gold at the 2020 Europeans.
“In Hungary, we have traditions certainly, so to say. Yeah, that’s true that whenever we had big championships staged here at home (since 1926), the men’s team was on the podium. I was lucky to play in the final in 2017 though we lost to Croatia. I hope this year we go one better and claim the gold medal.”
REBECCA PARKES | WATER POLO | HUNGARY
After Hungary finished fourth in three straight Olympics, Parkes helped her country earn bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“It was absolutely awesome to get that Olympic medal in Tokyo after such a long wait. It just gave more motivation for us, to keep going and we are also aware that we owe to our fans as the team couldn’t make the semis five years ago – now we want a medal here too.”
NATALIA VEGA | ARTISTIC SWIMMING | UNITED STATES
On being coached by Andrea Fuentes, the legendary Spanish synchro swimmer
“We grew up watching our idols, Andrea was one of them – and now she is our coach, which is awesome. We’ve learned a lot from her, her guidance is invaluable, and she is such a great role model.”
On their targets here
Our goal is to get to the Olympics in the team event which we have not achieved for a while. This World Championships is an important milestone for us as it gives us an idea where we stand on our continent and how close we are to achieve this goal to go to the Olympics.”
– Fina –