European Championship Medalist Maria Ugolkova Leads Swiss Return to Racing

Nico Messer contributed to this report.

Swiss swimmer Maria Ugolkova was the first of her country’s elite swimmers to reveal racing results since the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic. On June 13, in Uster, she and a few teammates suited up and climbed the blocks for their first racing swims of the new season.

She swam a 1:01.68 in the 100 fly in long course and a 57.48 in the 100 free in long course during an unofficial time trial. Her best times in those events are 54.54 and 59.26, respectively.

“Times are not incredible, but at least now I know where I’m standing,” Ugolkova said of her swims. “Very happy to wear my racing suit again.”

Ugolkova is primarily a 200 IMer, finishing 9th in that event at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships. She was the 2018 European Championship bronze medalist in that event in long course and the 2019 European Championships silver medalist in short course.

Ugolkova is the only of Switzerland’s elite swimmers to have posted any kind of racing results so far. The country’s best-known swimmer, World Championship silver medalist Jeremy Desplanches, returned to the pool about a month ago in Nice, France, where he’s been quarantining with partner Charlotte Bonnet.

The Swiss Aquatics federation has posted new selection criteria for both National Team spots and international roster positions in light of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.

While the Swiss national government has reopened pools for regular training schedules, most teams have had to deal with differing regulations from local authorities and pool owners. This means that different parts of the country have returned to the water at different rates.

The Swiss Coaches’ Association have launched a “Summer Swim League 2020,” during the lockdown. While no formal meets have been scheduled, the league will give athletes, in small groups, some racing opportunities and flexibility.

There are two upcoming official meets in Switzerland this weekend on Saturday and Sunday: the Basler Cup and Meeting du Lac. The Basler Cup is in Bulach in the Northern part of the country, while the Meeting du Lac is in Vevey in the Western part of the country. No entry lists for those events are out yet.

Switzerland has recorded 31,376 cases of coronavirus leading to 1,958 deaths attributed to COVID-19. With a population of almost 9 million, that’s a relatively-high rate of both infection and deaths, though the country has seen the number of new cases drop dramatically since the beginning of May. The country is averaging only about 20 new infections per day now.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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