Kobrich After The 8th Worlds Final: “In 2003 The Federation Forgot My Entry In The 1500”

Chilean swimming veteran Kristel Kobrich continues to carve her name in swimming history at 38 years old.

The oldest athlete competing in the Doha 2024 World Championships in swimming marks her 12th participation in the World Aquatics Championships, establishing herself as the most frequent attendee by a considerable margin.

Kobrich made her debut in 2003 at the World Championships in Barcelona.

“At my first World Championship I couldn’t swim the 1500 because my federation forgot to register me in this event and I watched it from the crowd. And I was very, very disappointed because I already knew that I was a long-distance swimmer and I couldn’t swim that. And then after that 1500 I saw my actual coach and I talked to him. I asked him if you want to train me, what can I do? How can I do it? I knew that I had to finish school in my country, and I had to prepare myself and all my family because it was a very big decision.”

Kristel was 17 years old in 2003 and had to finish school before moving to Cordoba, Argentina, where she has been living for 20 years and trains with the coach she sought out while watching the women’s 1500 in Barcelona.

Fast forward to the 1500 freestyle final in Doha, where she found herself in Lane 8. Kobrich’s advancement to the final during the third night of competitions marked her eighth appearance in the event’s final, setting a new all-time record. This achievement matches Federica Pellegrini’s record in the women’s 200 freestyle. It’s notable that the swimmer beside her, China’s Yang Peiqi, hadn’t even been born when Kobrich competed in her third World Championships back in 2007.

” I see it from a different perspective; I always think about all the girls I competed with in these 15/20 years, and most of them are now married and have kids, and I’m still here. I try to be very honest with myself and very honest with my team. I still want to work. I don’t want to waste my team’s time, and I don’t want to waste my time. I’m very proud, and I know that all the responsibility is on me. To represent my country, It’s very important because, in South America, it’s not very easy to do sports.

Asking her what has changed in the world of swimming during these 20 years, Kristel says:

A lot. For example all the things related to the media, we were not used to this attention. Also, the importance of mental health is not like 20 years ago. That’s why I keep looking and I keep learning from the young generations.”

For her future, she’s hoping to get the standard time to compete in Paris 2024.

I have the consideration time. I don’t have the qualification times yet, but I know it’s very important to me to qualify with the A cut. I know in my country there are not so many good swimmers. I have the feeling that I will go anywhere, but it’s not the qualification that I want to do it. So we still have to work hard, and maybe I will do some like 2 or 1 more meets to do the A time for the Olympics. My goal is to swim at 100% every time I get in the water. I see opportunities everywhere. Well, sometimes I do well, sometimes I don’t, but that’s life and also sport. I’m emotional and spiritual, and all the things that matter to me because I’m a human being. I try to do my best every time I can.

If you love what you do, all the other things don’t matter. If other people try to make the way very difficult. You still have to do what you love, and that’s the way I feel because I’m very passionate about what I do.”

Swimmers with the most finals appearances at World Aquatics Championships

Federica Pellegrini ITA Women’s 200 free 8 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019
Kristel Kobrich CHI Women’s 1500 free 8 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2022, 2024
Katinka Hosszu HUN Women’s 200 IM 7 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2022
Ryosuke Irie JPN Men’s 100 back 7 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2022
Sarah Sjoestroem SWE Women’s 50 fly 7 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2022, 2023
Gregorio Paltrinieri ITA Men’s 800 free 7 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2022, 2023, 2024


Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

Looks like she’s the only one on that list without a medal at Worlds level. I feel like people who are “mere” finalists always get overlooked. Nevertheless, this is impressive longevity and she deserves kudos.

Mr Piano
Reply to  BairnOwl
2 months ago

Agreed. I always get a little sad when people downplay or dismiss athletes who miss out on a medal. They’re still some of the greatest swimmers in the world.

Take the 100 free at last year’s worlds for example.

Maxime Grousset 47.42 for 3rd

Pan Zhanle 47.43 for 4th

Matt Richards 47.45 for 5th.

All of those times are cracked, should Zhanle and Richards have felt ashamed for those performances? Hell no!

Getting a medal symbolizes reaching the absolute pinnacle of the sport, and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

About Aglaia Pezzato

Aglaia Pezzato

Cresce a Padova e dintorni dove inizialmente porta avanti le sue due passioni, la danza classica e il nuoto, preferendo poi quest’ultimo. Azzurrina dal 2007 al 2010 rappresenta l’Italia con la nazionale giovanile in diverse manifestazioni internazionali fino allo stop forzato per due delicati interventi chirurgici. 2014 Nel 2014 fa il suo esordio …

Read More »