Born Jan. 20, 1990 Marco Koch is a German breaststroke swimmer originally from the city of Darmstadt. The 6’0″ breaststroker has flown relatively under the radar, but he had his big breakout moment at the 2015 World Championships. Koch trains with coach Alexander Kreisel in Darmstadt, where he’s made headlines for his training techniques, including hypnosis. Kreisel believes hypnosis allows him to see hidden problems in his swimming technique.
Early years in swimming
Koch really stepped onto the swimming scene in 2008 as a youth swimmer — he competed at the 2008 European Youth Championships, where he won gold in the 200-meter breaststroke, as well as a silver in the 100 and bronze in the 50 completing a full-medal sweep. In the same year Koch competed at the World Youth Championships in Monterey, where he just missed out on gold for silver in both the 200 and 100-meter breaststrokes.
In 2008 Koch made the step from youth championships to his first senior competition. He was selected for the Short Course European Championship Team in River, where he didn’t medal in an individual event, but he did pick up a silver medal as a member of the 4×50 mixed medley relay.
A few years later in 2012, Koch qualified for his first Olympic Team in 2012. Koch qualified in his signature event, the 200 breaststroke, but he failed to make the championship final in his first Olympic experience.
In 2013 Koch was selected for his first World Championship Team after making his Olympic debut the previous year. Koch picked up a silver medal in the 200 breaststroke, making a big statement at his first Worlds. The following year Koch nabbed another silver medal at the 2014 Short Course Worlds, and took the title in the event at the 2014 European Championships.
2015 World Championships
At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan Koch brought a lot more experience to the table than his first go-round at Worlds. Going into the World Championships Koch was ranked third in the world in the 200 breaststroke, setting him up for a good position in Kazan. Going into the final of the 200 breast, the race was going to be tough with American breaststroke star, Kevin Cordes. The two took out the first 100 meters at about the same time, but Koch’s last 100 meters pulled him ahead of Koch to win the gold by about .3 seconds. Koch’s finishing time of 2:07.06 was just .75 seconds off a new World Record.
2016 Rio Olympics
In his only individual swim of the games, Koch finished 7th in the 200 meter breaststroke final in 2:08.00. He also finished 7th as a member of the German 400 meter medley relay.