2016 Olympic silver medalist Yulia Efimova wouldn’t say yet whether she’ll retire after the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, but the Russian breaststroker did shed some light on her plans for the next year in an interview with Russia’s RSport.
Efimova says she’ll include the Mare Nostrum tour in her plans this summer, but that the Short Course European Championships in December were unlikely to be part of her schedule leading up to Tokyo.
“Most likely no,” Efimova said, in a rough translation of the original Russian. “That’s not my best – the short course. Instead, I plan to perform at competitions in the United States in the 50-meter pool and prepare for the Olympic Games.”
Efimova also said that she probably wouldn’t compete on the full World Cup series, either. She may swim a few stops of the tour, but didn’t want to risk injury with so much travel and competition less than a year out from Tokyo. On the other hand, she will swim two of the three stops on FINA’s newly-introduced Champions Series. She’s skipping the opening stop in Beijing, but will compete in both Budapest, Hungary and Indianapolis in the United States.
When asked about her plans after Tokyo, Efimova wouldn’t commit to either retiring or continuing competition.
“I don’t know,” she said. “Every Olympics, I’ve thought: this will be my last.”
Other tidbits from the interview: Efimova talks about her decision to drop the 200 IM from her Russian Championships lineup – she says her schedule is already busy with three breaststroke distances, and earning a Worlds medal in the IM isn’t likely. She also shares the story of doping control officers showing up at her door for a test on her birthday, a surprise she jokingly calls “just the best gift.”