Anastasia Fesikova, formerly Anastasia Zueva, has been elected unanimously by her Russian Olympic teammates at a training camp in Bulgaria this week.
“I am pleased that the team has put such confidence in me,” Fesikova said in Russian. “Previously, the captains were boys – Yuri Prilukov, Evgeny Korotyshkin. I never thought that this position could be a girl. Before the meeting, I was asked, am I ready to become a captain, I said that if you choose me, I am ready. And then I was nominated for this position, and all voted unanimously. I cannot say that now something has changed, and I feel a great burden of responsibility, and I’ve always helped everyone, if there was a need for help.”
Zueva is the defending Olympic silver medalist in the 200 backstroke and a former World Champion over 50 meters, but after her last international success at the 2013 World University Games, she took an extended break from the sport.
During that break, in August of 2013, she married former World Record holder Sergey Fesikov.
After returning, she won the 50 backstroke (28.17) and took silver in the 100 (59.91) and 200 (2:08.74) backstrokes to qualify for her 3rd straight Olympic Team at 25-years old (she’s since turned 26).
When speaking of the biggest challenge of a team leader, she says that “a captain first of all should be an example for others. She must unite the team in difficult situations…and lead it to victory. In disputes, she must defend the rights of athletes. Now, if there are any questions, athletes will come to me, and we will investigate.”
Russia has confirmed 34 swimmers for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, with 5 more swimming for their spots at next week’s European Championships.