The FINA Swimming World Cup gets underway in Berlin, Germany on Friday, with Estonia's top male swimmer Kregor Zirk scheduled to compete in three events alongside some of the world's best.
"The plan is to swim the 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 200m butterfly," said Zirk. "We've already had the first start of the season. Last week we competed in the Czech Republic, but now we will get in the water for the first time in the World Cup series," said Kregor Zirk.
According to Zirk, the competition will be tough in Berlin, with the Italian team expected to be particularly strong. "The main goal is to compete well in a strong field. We haven't been able to do that since August. The short course season is a bit different and I'm looking forward to it. Most of the top swimmers are there. There's Chad le Clos (South Africa) and Alberto Razzetti (Italy), who were medalists in my main event at the Short Course World Championships (Razzetti won gold in the 200m butterfly at the 2021 FINA World Championships in Abu Dhabi, while le Clos took silver - ed.) The Italian team has some very strong swimmers," said Zirk.
While Zirk considers himself top be in decent form, he believes there is still room for improvement and that he has not yet reached his peak. "The season has started well. We had a good training camp in the mountains and now we've been quietly trying to stay in good shape. At the moment, I feel good. I've definitely not reached my top form just yet," Zirk said.
According to Zirk, all the competitors involved in top-level swimming are more like friends and get on well with each other. "Most of the top swimmers are very good friends of mine actually. Everyone is really friendly and gets along. There's no anxiety and it's nice to see friends you haven't seen for a long time and to swim together," said Zirk.
After the World Cup in Berlin, Zirk plans to train in Estonia for a few weeks, before heading out to Hong Kong for a training camp to prepare for the FINA World Short Course Championships. "After Berlin, I will train at home for a few weeks, maybe in Estonia, and then I will head to Hong Kong for a training camp. That will last about four or five weeks and from there we will fly to Australia for the World Short Course Championships," Zirk said.
The 2022 FINA World Cup composes of three legs. The first, involving Zirk, takes place in Berlin from October 21 to 23, followed by events in Toronto, Canada on October 28-10 and Indianapolis, USA on November 3-5.
The 2022 FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships take place in Melbourne, Australia on December 13-18.
Editor: Michael Cole