One of the most successful German swimmers over the last decade is set to retire after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio: Paul Biedermann is the current World Record holder in the 200 free in 1:42,00 and the 400 freestyle in 3:40,07 – he hit both records at the 2009 Long Course World Championships in Rome, in a high-tech suit.
At the 2015 German National Championships he put an exclamation point on the season with the fastest time of the year so far on the 200 m freestyle in 1:45,60. The 28-year old is, with this performance, one of the medal contenders for the World Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia, which will be held there from 2 to 9 August.
In an interview with the German SwimSport magazine (swimsportnews.de) Biedermann said that his focus is on the 2016 Olympics – but wants to enjoy the experience at his last world championships. Biedermann, who is training in his home town Halle/Saale, Germany, is already making plans for the time after the end of his career:
“There are plans in professional terms, I have the opportunity to continue to work in swimming in Halle,” he said. “But there are other options, but nothing has been decided. It is important for me that I have a lot of possibilities after the end of my swimming career.”
With the host country of the World Championships, Russia, facing a number of doping cases in the recent past, Biedermann says that he is controlled in Germany twice a month – and he doesn’t want to judge others.
In Germany, a draft of a more restrictive anti-doping law was approved in March by the German Federal Cabinet. The ratification of the law by the Parliament is planned by year-end. The new law will see those using performance-enhancing drugs in sport sent to prison – two or three-year prison sentence could be possible or heavy fines.
The Parliament is working on a new draft because the German Olympic Sports Confederation Athletes Commission (DOSB-Athletenkommission), including Paul Biedermann, has pointed to the problem that the possession of performance enhancing drugs is a criminal offense in the new anti-doping law – but the forbidden substances could be foisted on the athletes. “I represent the opinion of the Athletes’ Commission and we are waiting for the next draft.” he stressed in the interview.
In addition to the 200 m freestyle, Biedermann will concentrate in Kazan on the 4 x 200 m freestyle relay. He has repeatedly trained this year with his teammates – these are among others Florian Vogel and Jacob Heidtmann.
“They are very self-conscious and it’s great fun to train with them – at a really high level of training,” he said. Biedermann summarized the experience with the next generation of German swimmers. The German 800 m freestyle relay is the reigning European Champion and their goal is to qualify in Kazan for Rio – with at least a twelth place finish.
Looking at Rio, he does not make a definitive statement as to whether he will swim the 400 m freestyle there: “This year I have focused on the 200 m Freestyle – but I haven’t decided yet if this will be my way to Rio.”
Paul Biedermann is in a relationship for several years with Britta Steffen, a former German Olympic Gold medalist in the 50 and 100 m freestyle at the 2008 Peking Olympic Games who retired from swimming in 2013. The German swimming dream couple always keeps his private life very private:
”No one of my relatives will be in Kazan.” said Biedermann in the interview with swimsportnews. Steffen gave one of the few insights into her private emotions in an interview in May 2014 with the German Magazine “Bunte.de“:
“Paul is the man for my live,” she said. “I have arrived.”
It seems that Paul Biedermann looks in a happy future in his private and professional life after ending his swimming career in 2016.