Keep The Faith: Reitshammer Hits First OLY-Qualifying Time At 26 Years Old

2020 AUSTRIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Proving it’s never too late to keep a dream alive, Austria’s Bernhard Reitshammer has qualified for his first Olympic Games at the age of 26.

Competing on day 3 of the 2020 Austrian Championships, Reitshammer posted a prelims time of 53.76 to take the top seed in the men’s 100m backstroke and most likely etch his name onto the Austrian roster for Tokyo.

Splitting 25.58/28.18, Reitshammer’s sub-54 second outing this morning dipped under not only his previous lifetime best of 53.90 from April 2019, but his mark also got under the FINA ‘A’ cut for the 2020 Olympic Games. That standard is represented by a time of 53.85, so Reitshammer’s 53.76 cleared the minimum by .09.

Reitshammer’s time also qualifies him for the 2020 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, and is within half a second of the longstanding Austrian national record of 53.33 Markus Rogan put on the books in 2009.

Of his performance and making an Olympic team as a veteran, “I feel really good right now, but believe that I have not yet fully realized it. Now a lot of pressure is gone because I have now reached the Olympic limit.

He continues, “Making the Olympics was my biggest goal. Just to be there. Everyone dreams of that. I hope that the games will really take place next year.

“To experience this feeling of being able to swim there with the best of the best. I can’t quite put it into words yet. But it makes me really happy. It’s a great feeling. If you think about it so often every day in training and you do all this for this one race that you can then be at the Olympics. When the time comes and you can do it, it’s a great feeling. ”

Reitshammer is now the 5th Austrian swimmer to have cleared an Olympic-qualifying time thus far. Teen freestyle ace Marlene Kahler has qualified in the 800m and 1500m free events, Lena Grabowski made the cut in the 200m back, Christopher Rothbauer accomplished the feat in the 200m breast and Felix Auboeck got it done in the 800m free.

Rothbauer says of the team so far, “It makes me proud to be there. We are a really big group that is now qualified. But the more the better. It’s a group dynamic. It all works so well. Everyone gets on really well with each other and that just makes it even more fun. ”

All quotes courtesy of the Austrian Swimming Federation.

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Dan
3 months ago

Great swim, congratulations.
How fast of a medley relay could Austria put together?
Any chance for one of the at large spots (4 spots faster then Top 16 at 2019 World Champs), men and/or mixed?

Dee
Reply to  Dan
3 months ago

The men have a 53.7 back & 60.2 breast, but it falls away on fly & free.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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