Konovalov took national titles in the men’s 100m butterfly and backstroke events. In both races he achieved the qualifying time standards required for the European Short Course Swimming Championships.
The two-time Russian champion shared his impression of the races.
– Are you happy with your results?
– All in all, the results are not bad. I haven’t expected that I will swim that fast. My goal for this tournament was to qualify unshaved. I didn’t shave yesterday for an entire day. Then I was told that according to the new regulations only two swimmers will qualify instead of the usual four. I hoped that I will not shave, end up at least in fourth place and do my best at the Europeans. I just hoped to end up in the fourth place. Yesterday my coach and I discussed the matter and decided that I will have to show my best qualifying time.
– How did you feel today?
– I felt good but I should have shaved a day or two before the competition. And I shaved this morning. My result for the 50m heat is 21.69, which is a disaster. I got upset but then I thought: 50 metres is 50 metres, I will do my best in the second half. And as you can see it turned out just the way I expected. When I swim the second half, I usually have time to think everything over. When I swam the backstroke, I thought about the 100m butterfly I was going to swim, about the relay, about some shopping I will need to do, about the competition schedule, about my time off. During the race I never pay attention to other swimmers, I just swim. If I feel that I have some strength left, I speed up. There are times when you are in poor condition before a race – and you cannot add any speed at all even if you want to. Your body simply tells you: ‘that’s it’ or ‘you need to take a rest’. I had such a thing in 2006 and later, when I had a hard time at the national championships, I felt not very well.
– Which of the finals are you happy with most of all?
– The backstroke. Butterfly is just another 100 metres. I swam 500 metres yesterday. I hoped that I will finish the 100m butterfly in 49 seconds not in 50 as I did today. It’s the third place result at the Europeans whereas you have a chance for a medal with 49.
– Will you swim both events at the European championships?
– That’s the plan. We also considered the 100m freestyle but then we dropped the idea because there will be four competition days at the Europeans, and freestyle events will be held on the same days – Days 2 and 3 – with the backstroke and butterfly that’s why my coach and I decided to focus on the last two events that will be held on different days instead of swimming all the three events. Otherwise, it will be all for nothing.
– What other events are you going to compete in?
– 50m butterfly, relays today and tomorrow.
Press Office of Executive Directorate for Sports Projects