LONDON (Reuters) - The Rio Games will be both a sprint and a marathon for Dutch triple Olympic gold medalist Ranomi Kromowidjojo and her partner Ferry Weertman.
Kromowidjojo is the reigning champion in 50 and 100 meters freestyle, the fastest events on the women’s swimming program, while Weertman took the men’s 10km open water silver medal at last year’s world championships.
Their preparations are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
“I never knew anything about open water swimming before one year ago and now I do,” Kromowidjojo told reporters at the European championships on Thursday, a day after she took silver in the 100 meters freestyle in 53.24 seconds.
”It doesn’t happen a lot that he is out of the water earlier than I am.
“We are training in the same pool... so our life is almost the same. But for preparation it’s completely different,” she said at an appearance for swim wear sponsor Arena.
The winning men’s 10km time in 2012 was one hour and 49 minutes, while sprint queen Kromowidjojo won gold in the 50 meters -- a dash from one end of the pool to the other -- in an Olympic record of 24.05 seconds.
The difference between a medal and nothing in that event can be the blink of an eye.
”We are just focusing on every detail from start to finish, every stroke has to be perfect. For him, it doesn’t matter if he starts two seconds after the rest,“ she said with a smile. ”It doesn’t matter the way he dives into the water.
”I don’t like swimming in the sea or open water. I just like clean water and the lines and everything.
“It’s nice to compare in the same kind of sport that something can be so different. We match but we are completely different swimmers.”
Kromowidjojo won 4x100 meters gold in Beijing in 2008 and silver in the same relay in 2012 on top of her individual titles.
At the 2015 world championships in Kazan, Russia, she took three silvers -- in the 50m free, the 4x100 and the mixed relay which is a non-Olympic event. Defending her titles in Rio will be tough.
”The girls from Australia are really fast,“ she said. ”I don’t consider myself as the favorite. So we’ll see, but I’m feeling good and really enjoying swimming.
“I’m in the top five now but it’s really hard to stay the best in the world for four or five years. On the other side, I know how to swim an Olympic final and how to deal with it. I have a lot of experience and that gives me a lot of energy.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris