The Danish team had an incredible summer in 2016 winning multiple Olympic medals in the pool for the first time since 1948. That success has created a lot of excitement within Danish Swimming and has the team heading into Budapest with a lot of positive energy.
The Danish team will be the largest that the country has ever assembled for a Long Course World Championships. National Team Head Coach Dean Boles is looking forward to opportunity his young team has, “It is one of Denmark’s largest World Championships teams with 15 swimmers competing,” Boles told SwimSwam. “We had 16 swimmers make the team, but Mie Nielsen pulled out to try and give herself a break from the international calendar which she has had eight years running.”
Since taking over as National Team Head Coach in January Boles main focus has been building the depth of talent in Danish Swimming. He has concentrated on team building including putting a larger emphasis on relays, “We have had a team approach working towards building a bit more depth and a foundation. Denmark had a pretty good run with a high water mark in the last four to six years. Five to six swimmers at the top of the world consistently that is pretty special.”
“We now have to build from the bottom up. We are putting a bigger focus on relay development. We have a ways to go but we are definitely taking a leap of faith doing it.”
That focus has paid off with the Danish women qualifying all three relays for the first time since 2005.
Out of the 15 members on the team only five have World Championships experience. 2016 Olympic medalists Rikke Møller Pedersen and Pernille Blume are two of those athletes and are two of the team’s strongest leaders. Pedersen holds the world record holder in the women’s 200 breaststroke and has won multiple World Championship medals, “Rikke provides a great influence on the team by setting an example of her commitment,” said Boles.
Blume, who won Olympic gold in the 50 freestyle in Rio, is someone who continually impresses Boles with many strong leadership qualities, “Every time she speaks up in a team meeting and we listen to her she impresses me more and more.”
“What I have been finding quite interesting with her is that she is quite clear in what she needs to do to be ready and is very good at adding great value to the team dynamic. She just looks at things in a slightly different way. I watch and just applaud her.”
Heading into Budapest Blume has posted the world’s second fastest time in the 50 freestyle putting up a 24.13 at the Sette Colli Trophy in June.
The Danish team has a different make up then the one that had a historic performance last summer, but with a strong leadership core and youthful energy they hope to make their own mark over the next week in Hungary.