Towards a new season and new challenges

Emilie took up her swimming practice only four weeks ago, but has already taken part in two competitions. One in Godby, a  small village north of Mariehamn, where the annual competition between SFI (the Finland’s Swedish Sports Confederation) and Stockholms Simförbund takes place. Emilie won 100 backstroke for girls aged 15-16 and finished second in 200 backstroke. In the relay 16 x 50m freestyle she had the honor to swim the last lap and did so in an impressive way. She finished in only 26.2 seconds, which is a new unofficial record for her.

The second competition she has taken part in already is Hessun uinnit. She did ok although she had been playing football on both Wednesday and Friday. Her school team won bronze, but the prize Emilie had to pay were sore legs and poor kicks in the pool on Saturday. Luckily, there are still many competitions ahead and looking back Emilie said she had actually preferred having a shorter break between the last season and this one, because now it feels as though she has to start from the beginning.

In the following article Emilie is standing in the middle of the group photo:


Once in a lifetime experience

The 2016-2017 season has finally come to an end and what a wonderful way to end it for a 15-year-old girl. To have the chance to participate in the European Youth Olympic Festival is, without doubt, a once in a lifetime experience that Emilie will remember for the rest of her life.

The competition is arranged every second year and all athletes taking part in the events are nominated by their countries’ own olympic committees. About 2.500 athletes representing 50 different countries competed in ten different sports.  The Finnish team took part in six of them, and the age groups competing in swimming were girls 14-15 and boys 15-16.

The qualifying times required in the finals were much tougher this year than two or four years ago. This was at least the case in 100 and 200m backstroke, where the  winner, Daria Vaskina, dominated on both distances. As the comparison below shows there’s quite a big gap between the absolute top swimmers in Europe and the ones in Finland.

Backstroke    The EYOF winner  2017         The Finnish records for girls 14-15 / girls 16-17
100m               1.00.87                                         1.04.15    /     1.02.80
200m               2.11.67                                         2.19.57.   /     2.12.87

Despite good preparations Emile didn’t perform at her best, which of course was not what she had hoped for, but on the other hand, the whole season has been quite volatile, so in that sense the results didn’t come as a surprise. Had everything turned out well, she could had made a new PB as well. What is more interesting is to try to understand why her performances have varied quite a lot (even within a couple of weeks)… and without going into too many details, one simple explanation could be that she has grown quite a lot and is right now 1.78m tall. She has also gained much more muscles and it will probably take some time before she has regained body control.

What is needed right now is patience and resilience, and time off from swimming before the short course season starts towards the end of August.

Pre camp in Slovakia

Emilie to the left in the picture, Emilia Liven in the middle and Sini Silvennoinen to the right. All three girls representing ÅSK – Uintiklubi Turku.

Emilie selected for European Youth Olympic Festival

Emilie is one of the 16 swimmers selected to represent Finland at the EYOF 2017 in Györ, Hungary. There will be about 50 nations competing in 10 Olympic Sports from 23-29 July and the number of athletes will be around 3,000.

Emilie will compete in two individual events (100 and 200m backstroke) and the relay.

The Finnish Team consists of 69 athletes.



The first individual medals for Emilie in the Junior National Championships

NSM 2017 4x100 medley relay

Emilie is still an age group swimmer, but despite that she won three medals in the Junior Championships in Tampere this week-end (July 6-9, 2017). On Thursday, she competed in  50m backstroke not less than four times. Twice in the morning and twice in the evening session. She finished fifth among girls 17 and improved her personal best with 0.18 seconds and the new record is now 30.48.

In 200m backstroke she made a new seasonal best (02,24.88) finishing second and only 0,00.03 from her PB. She also earned a place in the A-final for adults where she finished 8th. In 100m backstroke she was third among girls 17 and finished 8th in the A-final for adults.

NSM 2017 200m su   NSM 2017 100 su

In the medley relay 4x100m for girls 17 the team consisting of Emilie, Iida Reini, Ida Konkka and Sini Silvennoinen won the gold medal.

All in all, Emilie won three medals: one gold medal (medley relay), one silver (200m backstroke) and one bronze (100m backstroke).

Her swimming club ÅSK – uintiklubi Turku was the best team among the juniors.

8 Medals in the National Age Group Championships

Last week-end Emilie took part in her last LCM National Age Group Championships in Tampere. She won two gold, four silver and two bronze medals and improved her personal best in 50m butterfly and 200m medley.

In 4 x 100m medley relay the team made a new age group championship record. The new record is now 04:25.20 and the team consisted of Emilie, Emilia Liven, Siiri Konkka and Sini Silvennoinen.

Training camp II in Mataró

In May Emilie went back to Mataró for the second time this season. She spent ten days on a training camp preparing for the national age group championships coming up next week. The preparations went well, the weather was great and both the hotel and the facilities were on a walking distance from the beach, where the evening stretching took place.

On their day off they went shopping to an outlet not far away from Mataró. 

Back on track again

After quite a long time of uncertainty and setbacks, Emilie seems to be back on track again. Her performance in 100m backstroke was quite impressive in the Grand Prix swimming competition in Espoo last week-end (May 12-15).

When she touched the wall, the clock stopped at 1.05.08, which is her second best time ever on this distance (100m backstroke LCM). Her strong performance brought her back to the number one position in this year’s national statistics for girls aged 15, where she also holds the first position in 200m backstroke.

One reason why she is doing better right now is without doubt the nutrition plan that she has been following since the end of April… and looking back… it seems to work!

Swimming camp in Greece

Last Saturday (April 15) Emilie came back home from a swimming camp organized by the Finnish Swimming Association. The team – consisting of 10 girls (aged 14 – 15) and 10 boys (aged 15 – 16) -spent a couple of days in Piraeus before continuing to Loutraki, approximately 80 km west of Athens, where the camp itself was held. The reason why they spent some days in Piraeus was the Multination Swimming Competition, where only one swimmer from each country was allowed to represent their country in each event. The other one (or the other ones) taking part out of competition only. Unfortunately, Emilie was competing only out of competition, which, on one hand, was comprehensible, since she has not been doing fine neither inside nor outside the pool lately.  On the other hand, it is hardly motivating to take part in a competition where you know on beforehand that whatever you achieve you are and will be OOC.





The main purpose of the camp was to practise how it feels to live like an elite swimmer. The schedule was as follows:

5.50 am wake-up
6.10 am breakfast
6.30 am departure by bus to the swimming pool
6.40 am dryland
7.00 – 9.00 am swimming
9.15 am departure back to the hotel
9.25 am breakfast
10.00 – 11.30 (or 12.00) am rest at the hotel
11.30 (or 12.00) am – 12.30 pm lunch
12.30 – 13.10 pm rest at the hotel
13.20 pm departure by bus to the swimming pool
13.30 pm dryland
14.00 – 16.00 pm swimming
16.15 pm snack
16.30 – 17.30 pm dryland
17.30 pm return back to the hotel
18.30 – 19.30 pm dinner
20.00 pm mobiles put away
20.30 pm silence
21.00 pm – 5.50 am sleep

When things don’t turn out so well

The ISM in Berlin was meant to be one of the highlights this year, but due to a lot of unfortunate circumstances nothing went as planned… Instead of being in good shape, the low fat diet that had been recommended since the middle of January, the changes in the technique and the lack of sleep the night before the travel day and the rest of the week-end took its toll.

This may explain the poor outcome:

March 3
03:30 am early wake-up after only four-five hours of sleep
04:30 am arrival at the airport in Turku
09:10 am arrival in Berlin (local time)
lunch and a short rest at the hotel before going to the swimming and sports hall in Europasportspark, where the competition started at 17:00
06:30 pm 50m butterfly (new personal best 00:29.82)
08:02 pm 200m backstroke (02:30.87)
11:00 pm late dinner (Finnish time 00:00)

March 4
05:30 am early wake-up and breakfast before going to the swimming hall
06:30 am warm-up
08:10 am 100m backstroke (01:08.18)
08:20 am 50m freestyle (00:29.05)

After another night of poor sleep it was finally time for the last events on Sunday: 50m backstroke (00:31.80) and 100m freestyle (01:02.06).

Well, what did we learn from all this? Quite a lot, I would say. First of all, Emilie has started eating more food again. Contrary to what was believed her fat percentage was (once again) too low. She will therefore see a PT next week and hopefully the PT will be able to give Emilie some advice of what to eat and not to eat. We were quite lucky finding a PT who has specialized in nutrition. Secondly, if you want to perform well in a competition far away from you home town, you have to arrive at least one day previous to the competition – not the same morning as the competition.

… but, what’s done is done. Let’s look forward to new interesting meetings and a successful 2017!

Emilie joined the Finnish European Junior Championships 2018 team

Emilie has been invited to take part in the Finnish Swimming Association’s NEM2018 team (Nuorten EM meaning the European Junior Championships in English). Seven girls (born in 2001-2003) and five boys (born in 2000-2002) form the team, which officially will get together for the first time in March 18-19th 2017. All team members have achieved 17.0 Rudolph points or more, which according to the Rudolph table means that they belong to the top national swimmers in their age group.

Congratulations, Emilie!

Madwave Challenge 2017, Tartu

As part of the Top team within the Swedish Sports Association (SFI in Swedish) Emilie packed her swimming bag once again and early in the morning on Friday 10th she went by car to Helsinki West Harbour, where the rest of the SFI group was waiting. From there they went by ferry to Tallinn and arrived in Tartu late in the afternoon after a couple of hours ride by the express bus.

The competition took place during the week-end and the 100m events were held as direct finals while the 50m events had both preliminaries and finals. Emilie took part in 50m and 100m backstroke, 50m butterfly and 50m free. She made her way to the finals in all three 50m events, but due to faulty start lists in 50m freestyle, she missed the final. In 50m butterfly she finished fifth.

She made a new meet record in 100m backstroke for girls 14-15 years old, finishing first in a modest 1:08.06 minutes. In the 50m backstroke preliminaries she also made a new meet record, 31.35 seconds, which equals 643 FINA points, but was defeated by Kertu Kaare by 00.34 seconds in the finals.

The best swimmers (according to FINA points) in every category were awarded with a cup and Emilie had the second highest FINA points in her category Y1 (girls born in 2002 and 2003).



Awards in the picture:

Estonia Open 2017 (according to the FINA points girls 14-15y)
Gold medal (100m backstroke girls 14-15y)
Silver medal (50m backstroke girls 14-15y)

Emilie awarded the best girl swimmer in 2016 within the Swedish Finnish Sports Association

The Swedish Finnish Sports Association’s Championships in swimming 2017 (short course) took place in Mariebad this week-end (February 4th-5th). Emilie took part in four individual events and five relays, and she won three individual gold medals (100m fly, 100m backstroke, 200m medley) and one silver medal (100m freestyle). In the relays she won three more gold medals together with her teammates.


At the very beginning of the Championships the best girl (15 or younger), the best boy (15 or younger), the best woman and the best man swimmers of 2016 were also announced, and Emilie was awarded the best girl swimmer within the Swedish Finnish Sports Association in 2016. Congrats, Emilie!



With only five weeks into the new year, the heat is on

After well deserved Christmas holidays Emilie is back in the pool. So far she has taken part in two competitions: the Turku Super Games and the Swedish Finnish Sports Association’s Championships 2017. She has also participated in the national age group team camp in Vierumäki (January 26th-29th).

During the week ahead of the TSG she measured her heartbeats (24/7) to find out how fast and how well she recovers from the swimming sessions. She is still waiting for the results of the analysis. She has measured her heartbeats once before and that was a couple of years ago when she suffered from exhaustion due to bad recovery. In order to avoid stress and to enhance recovery it’s very important to learn more about the own body and what factors affect the well-being and performance.

8 medals in the Age Group Championships

Last weekend, IKM 2016 200 suEmilie really tested her range in the Age Group Championships, where she entered 14 events in three days. She could had entered 15, but chose not to participate in the 100 breaststroke final. Despite this ordeal she managed to claim not less than 8 medals, 5 individual and 3 in the relays. She also broke her records in six events and made two other personal bests in the relays – unfortunately, not statistically significant.

Emilie´s entries and results

Friday morning
50 fly (girls 12-15): 11) 29.68 (PB) (- 0.61 s)

Friday afternoon
200 IM (girls 14): 3) 2.25.67 (PB) (- 2.19 s)
50 free (girls 12-15): 11) 27.78
4x100m free relay (girls 15): 2) 3.55.67 (Emilie´s unofficial time 58.74 – PB)

Saturday morning
50 back (girls 12-15): 5) 29.83 (PB) (- 0.45 s)
100 fly (girls 14): 3) 1.05.37 (PB) (- 0.11 s)
4x100m IM (girls 15): 2) 4.19.25 (Emilie´s individual time 1.04.01 in backstroke)

Saturday afternoon
400 IM (girls 14): 2) 5.13.06 (PB) (- 2.14 s)
100 back (girls 14): 2) 1.04.32
4x50m IM relay (2 girls 15, 2 boys 16): 3) 1.52.52 (Emilie´s individual time 30.02 in backstroke)

Sunday morning
200 back (girls 14): 2) 2.24.95
100 IM (girls 12-15): 8) 1.08.19 (PB) (- 0,53)

Sunday afternoon
100 free (girls 14): 12) 1.01.39
4x50m free relay (two girls 15, two boys 16): 4) 1.42.63 (Emilie´s unofficial time 26.78 in 50m free – pB (!))

Emilie managed well considering the fact that she had almost no time for recovery between some of the events. On Saturday, for example, there were only 30 minutes between the energy consuming 400 IM and the following 100 back. Still she touched the wall in 1.04.32.

On Sunday morning, she seemed to be quite exhausted finishing 6 seconds behind her personal best in the 200 back. Still finishing second. Immediately after having received her medal she was back in the pool taking 0.53 seconds (!) off her personal best in the 100 IM. What makes it quite unbelievable is that there were only 25 minutes between the two events. The same thing seemed to repeat itself in the afternoon where she finished the 100 freestyle in 1.01.39 and one hour later she finished the 4x50m freestyle relay with a new personal best in 50m: the impressive time of 26.78! No wonder her trainer was speechless! The team finished fourth in this relay.

IKM medals 2016      wp-1481050189966.jpg