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Blog guest: Ivana Ninkovic

Ivana Ninković, the best female swimmer of Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina, reveals as a Swimming Dad #Blog guest, whether swimmers have “a home” or they are in the swimming pool all the time, even around holidays, and also tells us what she missed the most while swimming somewhere far away. Ivana graduated from Arizona State University with a BSE in Engineering Management, but still spends her free time training swimming. She would like to try and meet the qualification requirements for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. She has also swum the A level qualifying time for the World Championship in Barcelona and participated in the European Short Course Swimming Championship in Denmark. Ivana participated in the Balkan Junior Swimming Championship winning a silver medal in the 50m breaststroke.

Do swimmers have “a home” or are they in the swimming pool all the time? How much time, according to your opinion, do swimmers really spend at home, and how much in the swimming pool?

My swimming career is rather specific, since in the city of Trebinje, where I was born and raised, I did not have an indoor swimming pool. Swimming is such a hard sport requiring a lot of sacrifice and hard work, so in order to achieve the results I had to go to Herceg Novi (Montenegro) or Dubrovnik (Croatia) on a daily basis, twice a day, so that I could train in an indoor swimming pool. That took me a lot of free time, and now I can say that I spent more time in a swimming pool and doing things related to swimming than at home. Young swimmers, i.e. the beginners train less, make progress faster when it comes to the results and spend more time at home. As for the professional swimmers, the number of trainings increases, I mean the number of hours they spend in the swimming pool, the progress “goes slowly”, i.e. the improvement is small, and they spend very little time at home.

While swimming, did you spend your holidays in the swimming pool more often than at home? Did you have any free time during holidays?

Due to very poor training conditions, I left home at a very early age, first to Banja Luka, and then to the USA. During holidays, I would replace the cosiness of my home with the swimming pool, which sometimes was harsh. I would listen to my peers having fun for holidays, but I could not afford it. Every time you have that fun “it costs you” being fit. If you want to have good results you should set clear goals, make great sacrifice, have strength, commitment and self-confidence that it is the thing you can do and want to do. During the holidays in the USA, we would have even two and a half hours of training a day, for example on the first day of the new year, on January 1 st , and I was okay with that since I would spend most of my free time with other swimmers having similar activities as I did. If you want to have the best results, forget about holidays, or at least spend them responsibly.

When you were somewhere far away and you swam, what did you miss the most? And how did you manage to alleviate homesickness, especially on holidays?

What I missed most was my family, which is my mental strength and they were always there for me whenever I needed them. I always remember that period with joy, my dad who would follow me to almost all my competitions, and my mum and sister being my continuous support. When I went to the USA, I used modern means of communication such as FaceTime, Skype, Viber… in order to keep contact with my family, so this in a way helped me deal with my homesickness.


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