Note: All quotes are translated from Norwegian.
Norwegian record holder and two-time European Championship medalist Henrik Christiansen has turned down offers to swim in the NCAA next season, opting to stay and train in his native Norway for the foreseeable future.
Christiansen, who has reportedly rejected offers from Stanford and Cal, two of the most prestigious schools in the US, has decided to stay home and work with coach Ronnie Anstensen, a coach he has grown to trust over the years.
“I think it’s important to have a coach who challenges me. Having someone who is fearless, who dares to challenge. Having someone who is fearless–who dares to challenge me, not only agree with me–is incredibly important,jam” Christiansen told NRK.
“I’ve been contacted by any college that wanted to talk to me about the scholarship. My father visited Stanford and Berkeley, both of which are among the more prestigious colleges in the United States, and they have some of the best swim teams. But I think it’s better for me to swim home with Ronnie” says Christiansen.
Despite the appeal that training in the US has, Christiansen states he believes he can achieve success in Norway under his current coach.
“It is possible to become world champion in Norway. It has been done before. I do not see any reason why it’s worse for me to be here. I think it’s better for my swimming career”.
Whenever asked about his training Christiansen answers with “we” rather than “I”, as him and his coach work as a team.
“It’s a collaboration. It is not only he who trains me, we challenge each other”, says Christiansen. “I would say that it is a good team. We complement each other well. I feel that he challenges me as much as I challenge him. I think it’s important that he pushes me also in daily life”.
Christiansen is the Norwegian record holder in the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle, as well as the 400 IM. He won a bronze medal at the 2015 SC European Championships in the 1500 free and most recently won silver at the 2016 LC European Championships in the 400 free. At the 2015 World Championships he qualified for the final in the 800 freestyle, placing 5th.
Christiansen is set to swim three events at the Olympics in Rio: the 200, 400 and 1500 free. He is seeded 12th in the 400 and 10th in the 1500.
Read the article from NRK (Norwegian broadcasting company) in Norwegian here.