Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We talk open water swimming with Pilar Geijo

Pilar Geijo has to be the happiest person we've ever met. Not just because she has taken her first ever title as the overall winner of the womens FINA Open Water Grand Prix series. Every time we talk get the chance to chat with Pilar she leaves you smiling and with the urge to go out and swim for the shear joy of it. So we thought we'd give you the chance to get to know the new queen of open water swimming. We've said it before and we'll say it again... we love Pilar!

Pilar collecting her spoils at the FINA Grand Prix in Roberval, Canada



blue70: So congratulations on claiming the No 1 spot on the FINA open water Grand Prix series! You have progressed so fast – 23rd in 2008, second last year – when did you believe you could take the series win this year?

Pilar: Firstly, Thanks a lot!!
In 2009 when I was second on the ranking Grand Prix, this was actually the first time that I could attend all the races of the circuit (ten races) - it was also the first time that I participated in long races so this represented a big challenge for me.In 2010, it was the second time that I decided to take part of the circuit, so I had more experience. In the middle of the year after the race in Mexico where I won with a high level of competitors I realized that it was possible to win the series. After the races in Canada where I won both, the difference of points with the second girl ranked were enough to let me imagine that the possibility to win the series could become true
.


The result has come a little early this season after racing was cancelled due to the death of Fran Crippen in the men’s 10k race in Dubai. How has his death impacted on the open water swimming community? I imagine you are all very close?

Fran's death was really very sad for the whole community of the swimming. I was in Dubai and it was terrible to hear about this news. I had not had much opportunity to talk to him because we take part in different circuits, so we didn’t attend the same races. Anyway, the people I have spoken with that did know Fran have given me wonderful comments of what a good person he was.

You are the first Argentinean woman to win a FINA open water swimming title – who inspired you to become a competitive swimmer?

I learned to swim in a club called GEBA where I meet Alfredo Camarero who was an Argentinean open water swimmer in the 50´s; he was a World Champion in 1955, and 1956. I meet him when I was 10 years old. He always told me his experiences, and he always used to say me that my personality and my good humor will help me to swim in open water. I remember that he told me "if you want to be a different swimmer, you MUST do different things, things that the other don’t do".

What age did you start swimming, and who taught you?

I learned to swim at the age of 6, and started to compete at the age of 8 in the swimming pool.

When did you decided to pursue open water racing (rather than pool), and why?

At the age of 15 I participated for the first time in a competition of Open Water and it liked me very much.

I used to compete in swimming pool (800, 1500 freestyle) and I had very goo
d results, anyway I always liked the long distances and the swimming pool was short for me! So I tried with open water, and I love nature and the open water was the perfect scene to be near to nature.

What do you think has been the key to your success?

Patience, conviction, dedication, a lot of training and a lot of love. And the most important key: Enjoy the activity that you do!!!

When did you know you could achieve the level of success you have?

The most important thing to have success is to have clear your goals. Sometimes you have to take important decisions and that have risk. The important thing is that you close your eyes and think: "What do I really want for me??” that’s going to help you to focus on your goals.
This year we had very clear our goal and we decided don’t stop until we achieve it!!
Pilar rocking her Carbon Race goggles at training

What makes you want to succeed at swimming at the highest level - what drives you to want to be the best?

I have a lot of personal reasons that makes me want to have success. It was more than 15 years that I’m a swimmer, and during this long way I had found a lot of situations that I had to resolve, a lot of obstacles to overcome. I love to improve myself. During this long way I meet a lot of people that really wish for me all the best, and they have only love for me. All the support of my family, my mum, my dad, all the dedication of Diego (I was his first elite swimmer and it was a big and important decision for him to start coaching me).

All these loving people give me the power to have success, because I know that with good results or bad results they will be always supporting me… The best part of a good result, is not only the title, the best part is to share your happiness with the people I love. This is a big reason to want to be the best!!!

Your husband is your coach so this must be a fantastic achievement for him too – how long has he been your coach?

Yes! For Diego is too the best achievement in his profession and this is for me an extra happiness. We are together 5 years ago, and we are working together in the swimming pool for the last 3 years!! The best 3 years of my sports career!!! :)) It is very funny to share the trainings!

Pilar and her husband and coach Diego Tricarico


What do you think it is about his coaching that has worked so well for you?
Diego is very professional, his knowledge are of a high level, and all of these things give me a lot of reliance.

We have an excellent relationship and this allow me to have fun everyday in every training.


What is it about open water swimming that you love the most?

What more I like about the open water is that everything is unpredictable, different situations can appear that you will have to go solving - trying to take the best decisions.
Not only you have to be a good swimmer, but also you have to pay much attention, and be very attentive to the various movements and situations during the competition.

To succeed at this level you must be doing some huge hours in the pool and in the open water. What does the your average training week look like?

I train an average of 5 hours per day in the swimming pool. 2,5 hours per morning, and the rest during the afternoon. (Average of 15km per day)
Everyday after the training session I made a session of stretching and also 3 times per week I work gymnasium for 2 hours.


Where to from here? What are your goals in open water swimming?

I still have on my mind to be part of the Olympic Games, I was so near to qualified in 2008, I was really strong that day but I think that anxiety played against me. Today I feel that I manage much better my emotions.

And of course – what are your favourite blueseventy products for training and racing?

I love all blueseventy products, I become part of blueseventy team this year and I’m very proud for that. They provide me the best products of the swimming market, blueseventy have innovation, experience, and elegance!!!

For training I like to wear nice swimsuit with funny colors that makes feel comfortable + beautiful, (I prefer the Flair swimsuit in pink!!)

For racing, I need the best swimsuit and I am lucky to have it! The neroTX Kneeskin is comfortable and this is very important for open water swimmer because the races are sometimes longer than 8 hours and we need to feel good!!

Thanks for your time – we can’t wait to see what you do next!

1 comment:

D said...

Pilar as I told you, you have an awasome time in your life....
You bet when you just ans. to BLUESEVENTY:
What do you think has been the key to your success? AND you said:...
"Patience, conviction, dedication, a lot of training and a lot of love. And the most important key: Enjoy the activity that you do!!!"

and when you asked:


When did you know you could achieve the level of success you have?

The most important thing to have success is to have clear your goals. Sometimes you have to take important decisions and that have risk. The important thing is that you close your eyes and think: "What do I really want for me??” that’s going to help you to focus on your goals.

Regards... y muchos triunfos ..!! Northahead (de Argentina)