Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Swimmer Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên is the youngest Vietnamese athlete competing at the upcoming Rio Olympic Games. She, however, will swim in four events, the largest number of competitions, compared to the other athletes.
The 20-year-old grabbed her fourth Olympics’ A standard in the women’s 200m pool at a tournament in the US two months ago.
Previously, Viên qualified for the 200m individual medley (IM), 400m IM and 400m freestyle.
Her results have placed her among the world’s top 30 swimmers.
After shaking the swimming world at the Southeast Asian Games by capturing eight gold medals and setting eight records last year, Viên was seen less often, after she flew to train and compete in the US, in preparation for her second Olympics.
Viên, who arrived in Brasil last week, has set no target for this largest, global sports competition. She was also not mentioned at Việt Nam’s send-off ceremony as a hopeful medalist, as she was in the past.
According to coach Đặng Anh Tuấn, it would be to her advantage not to be pressured when competing against her elite rivals.
Weeks ago, Viên had to compete in 7km swimming race every day, while improving her physique with about two hours of daily weightlifting.
Now in Rio, she will focus on her four events, specially the 400m IM, which is her strongest specialty.
Viên also has to train at 10pm to become conditioned for the time scheduled for her competitions.
“It is the first time I am to compete in this time zone. I have to work harder, but it is ok, I will get used to it. The matter here is how to train well to assure the best results,” Viên said.
Her top result in the 400m IM is 4min 38.78sec, which she accomplished nearly one year ago at the world championship, which placed her in the 10th position, while the London Olympic bronze medal was won with a score of 4:32.91.
Her training result is reported daily to the Việt Nam Sports Administration, but it is not made public.
“I have not thought about a medal this year. I will just try to be one of the eight athletes in the finals. I may be in the 400m freestyle or 400m IM. But I will give priority to the medley, as I hope to make something special here,” said Viên.
Coach Tuấn said Viên made great progress in the 400m IM and she corrected her technical errors from other competitions.
“Viên is preparing to perform her best in 2018 at the Asian Games. In this Olympics, she may enter the top eight of one, or several events, but her chance to win a medal is not clear, because there is a gap between herself and the world’s leading swimmers,” said Tuấn.
According to the schedule, the 400m medley will be held on Friday, the 400m freestyle on Saturday, and the 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley on Sunday. — VNS