“I had to leave the country to develop myself,” the 25-year-old said in an interview with ORF.at. Although there is still more than two years left until the next Olympics, Obock has already shifted his focus to Paris 2024. Before that, there are other highlights of the programme.
Next up is the World Championships in June in Budapest. The format test for this was successful at Auböck in mid-April. At the Stockholm Open, the lower Austrian swam a new Austrian record over 800 meters freestyle in 7:45.32 minutes. He also finished second in the 200m and 400m dash.
‘It hasn’t changed much’
Auböck has been among the top international companies for several years. The 25-year-old achieved his biggest success so far last December at the World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi where he achieved the over 400m freestyle. Previously, only Rogan won the gold medal for Austria at the World Championships. The 39-year-old won the 200m backstroke at the 2008 World Short Track Championships in Manchester.
However, as the world champion, Obock doesn’t really feel anything different: “It was a great success, but not really much has changed because I have a good environment in which nothing has changed.” However, the three-time Olympic finalist added: “In the end, I still have to say that the title was extremely important. Success makes everything you do so much easier. This is of course something you shouldn’t forget.”
Ten swimming sessions a week
Obock, who missed the bronze medal in the 400-meter crawl at the Tokyo Olympics by just 0.13 seconds, is training hard for his success. In addition to the 10 units in the water, there are three strength training sessions and two additional land units, where stability is emphasized, in the program each week.
In addition to training, the Lower Austrian is currently completing a master’s degree in International Relations at Loughborough University. The advantage in England is that he can be a professional swimmer there and still study alongside, as university times are coordinated with his training times, Auböck said.
Aubock moves abroad early
In general, the Lower Austrian was withdrawn abroad for early training. At the age of 16 he dared to move to Berlin and trained in the German capital for three years. “I had to leave the country in order to develop myself more,” says Obock, who then started a full four-year scholarship at the University of Michigan, USA, in 2016.
“Of course, traveling abroad by swimming is attractive. When does one have the opportunity to live and study in the USA practically free of cost? Swimming makes a number of things possible, which is why so many people take this opportunity.” In general, swimming is not a sport. Athletes can make a living from it. It is therefore important that you have the opportunity to complete a degree or apprenticeship in addition to extensive training. However, this is not possible in Austria. So it is understandable for Auböck that many Austrian talents go abroad to train.
After receiving his BA, Auböck moved to England and has studied at Loughborough University since August 2020. “In general, after getting my BA, I preferred to stay abroad. I also wanted to continue studying, and in Austria I don’t see the possibility of combining that with swimming. But I don’t rule out that I will return at some point.”
OSV is experiencing a boom
At the World Short Course and European Championships, Austrian swimming experienced a small boom. The Austrian Swimming Federation (OSV) athletes impressed with good times at the World Championships and won three medals at the European Championships.
“I think it’s many years of hard work. We are a generation that was deeply influenced by Markus Rogan and Mirna Djokic. That’s when we all started swimming. We are a strong generation, and it’s now at a higher level,” was Obock’s explanation of the current positive development, which makes him happy: “Of course it’s It’s great if only one person can win a medal, but if the same four people in Europe are in the lead.”
Expectations weigh on OPOK
Auböck has been the pioneer in Austrian swimming for years. It’s not always easy when expectations affect only one person, said the 25-year-old. Another problem is that it is often forgotten that OSV is usually only represented by a few people at major events.
“We always look at the USA and Australia, the number of medals they have, but we don’t see the people who didn’t get medals. You arrive with a team of 40 to 50 people, 10 to 15 of whom get a medal. Then we have one person who can Winning a medal, so all the pressure falls on that person. At the end of the day, you need four or five people who have a chance of winning a medal to get one.”
The focus is already on Paris 2024
In December, Auböck was able to withstand that pressure and clinch his first international title. However, the short-track world championship was just one stage on his way to his next big goal – because Auböck had already set his sights on the Paris 2024 Olympics. Before the Olympics take place, there are a few other highlights of Auböck’s programme. Next up is the World Championships in June in Budapest. The lower Austrian has fond memories of the Hungarian capital, winning his first international medal at the European Long Track Championships in May 2021 by winning the silver over 400 metres.
In June, Obock wants to make positive headlines again in Budapest. However, the 25-year-old is not aiming for an exact location in the World Cup, but would like to pinpoint a new best time there. “We approach every season like this because it’s the only thing I can control myself. I can try to be the best for myself on the day and do my best. It’s always difficult to get a specific place or a medal, but of course I want to swim in the final.” .that is always the goal anyway.”
Aubock satisfied with the training path
The world short track champion starts in Budapest during the 400m freestyle course. He also likes to swim the 200m and 800m freestyle, but these two distances overlap. “We will probably report everything, and then we will decide right away and see how the 400m goes,” says Obock, who regrets the overlapping of his tracks: “The competition lasts eight days, so you might think everything is running out and the roads are somewhat divided. But 400 meters on the first day, 200 meters on the second day, and 800 meters on the third day. It’s really a shame that they stuff everything so full at first.”
But there is still about two months of training ahead of the world championships in Budapest. Originally, the World Cup was supposed to take place in Japan in May, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been postponed to June and Hungary. “So much has always changed during the year that you never know which competitions will take place and when. If I am the best I can be on that day, there is so much that is possible,” said Obock, who previously declared.
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