Two-time Olympic champion Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe will begin training in Monaco in September in the leadup to the 2012 Olympic Games, according to her Twitter account. The invitation to train in Monaco came from Princess Charlene, who prior to her recent wedding to Prince Albert II, the Prince of Monaco was known as Charlene Wittstock. Wittstock is a former Olympic swimmer for South Africa, and along with her Olympic bobsledder husband, the Prince, takes a special interest in patronizing the Olympic sports.
Coventry is headed to Monaco to escape the distractions of training closer to home. It’s not immediately clear what she meant by “location,” but one would presume that it has to do with the access to more meets without having to take as much time to travel/interrupt her training. She will begin training there in mid-September, and will continue through the 2012 Olympics in London. There, Coventry will be looking to defend her 200 backstroke title that she has won for two-straight Olympics. She recently made a return to competitive swimming after taking most of the 2010 season off. She failed to make any finals, though she was 9th in the 200 IM semi-final.
Monaco has a limited swimming tradition of its own, though it does have a bright young pair of female swimmers (the Trinquier sisters). They are best-known for hosting an annual stop on the Mare Nostrum series, which is one of Europe’s biggest inter-championship meets, in Monte Carlo. Coventry has been training in Johannesburg, South Africa after training with Kim Brackin and Auburn during college. She initially felt as though being closer to her home of Zimbabwe would better help her influence future Olympians in her home country.
Coventry’s next meet will be the All-Africa Games in Mozambique, that continent’s equivalent of the Pan Am Games, from September 3rd-15th in Mozambique. There, she will swim the 100/200 backstrokes, 200/400 IMs, and is considering the 100 fly. As far as the Olympics, she seems determined to cut back on her huge schedule, and is likely to swim only three of her four big events, at max.