“My head is free.” says Franziska Hentke, Germany’s top 200 m butterfly swimmer, in an interview with the publication “Volksstimme.de, Magdeburg, Germany.” During the 2015 season, she set a new German record and a 2015 world best time on the 200 m butterfly in 2:05,26 minutes at the German Open in Essen, Germany, in July. So she was one of the favorites at the World Championships in Kazan (Russia) in August – and finished fourth in her first big final at a long course competition. This was her primary goal in the 2015 season – but she wasn’t really satisfied with her time of 2:06,78 minutes in the Kazan final where Natsumi Hoshi (JPN) went for gold in 2:05,56. About one week later, Hentke won her first World Cup title in Chartres, France, where she finished 0,20 seconds faster than in Kazan.
The prediction, her coach Bernd Berkahn made in an interview with SwimSwam in July after her World best time, describes the 200 m butterfly final at the World Championships: “A World Championship final will be decided by tactics.” And there, Franziska faded in the last 50 meters and wasn’t able to medal. But despite of this result she summarized in the interview with “Volksstimme.de”: “There have been so many positive moments in the 2015 season which have taken me a big step forward.”
She did not even have time to make a lot of thoughts about the past and she hasn’t taken time off after the World Championships because “Rio was immediately in the focus after the 2015 season,” which ended for her after the World Cup in Chartres.
Next up on Hentke’s road to Rio will be an altitude training camp in the Spanish Sierra Nevada where she will stay for 29 days at 2.700 meters above sea level. It will be the first time she will train at altitude for nearly one month and she is sure she’s in good shape heading into it: “I have the best starting level that I’ve ever had. And I have a lot of self-confidence due to my last stable performances. “In addition to her physical strength, she has worked with her German psychologist Cornelia Demuth on her mental toughness and Hentke is very happy with her development in the past three years.
Rio 2016 will be her third run to make the German Olympic team – the missed the qualification for Beijing 2008 and also for London 2012 because she suffered several viral infections during the 2012 season. For Rio, she must swim 2:08,86 minutes on the 200 m butterfly to qualify for the German national roster – and she is sure that she will be able to swim this easily but she sees possibilities for improvement: “Although I have reduced my weaknesses, we need to refine the turns, technique, power and endurance.” And finally all the work and dedication she puts in swimming should lead to one goal: “The 200 m butterfly final in Rio – that would be perfect.”