In early September, 16-year-old Eneli Jefimova returned from the World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships in Netanya, Israel, with three medals. In an interview on ERR Show "Ringvaade," Jefimova discussed her latest success, as well as the challenges of combing life as a top athlete with schoolwork.
In Netanya, Eneli Jefimova became junior world champion in the women's 50m breaststroke, while also taking silver in the 100m breaststroke and bronze in the 200m breaststroke. But does the talented swimmer now have so many medals that this latest set no longer seems quite so important?
"It's a special set [of medals], because it was [at the World Junior Championships, where I won] my first and also most recent set. That was the last [World Junior Championships] I can compete in. So, it's really important for me," said Jefimova.
Jefimova, who was born in Tartu, said she realized she had already reached a high level when, at the age of 12, she moved to Tallinn to train. Now, even though she has a haul of gold medals from top competitions in her trophy cabinet, Jefimova is still modest when talking about the key to her success.
"I think my height definitely gives me an advantage. I have good legs for the breaststroke, and my kick is very good. I have a really good sense of the water, I can feel the water, gliding through it is good. I'm just made for the water, I guess," Jefimova said.
Jefimova's coach Henry Hein said that she does not need much additional motivation from him in order to train. "She's very determined and she knows what needs to be done. I don't really need to motivate her in terms of training," Hein said.
"She's certainly hard working. With her talent, you might expect her to take things a little easier. She's determined, cheerful for sure and very talkative actually."
Jefimova said that combining a top-level sporting career with schoolwork also provided plenty of challenges. "There's always a lot of unfinished work, I didn't go to school for a whole month last year. It's quite hard to keep up with that, and new work always follows. These are tough moments that you just have to get through."
The 16-year-old athlete does about ten training sessions a week.
"I have nine training sessions in the water. Then there is the gym, pilates and all the other peripheral stuff."
Do you ever feel like skipping a training session? "Definitely. I'm already really tired at the end of the week, when I've done eight training sessions, I've still got three more to go and I know I've got a hard workout coming up in the evening.... That's when I think, oh my goodness, it would be so great to just go to sleep now. But I still get myself there every time."
Editor: Michael Cole