SwimmingRising Star Barbora Seemanova Gets Perfect Platform in ISL

Rising Star Barbora Seemanova Gets Perfect Platform in ISL

Rising Star Barbora Seemanova Gets Perfect Platform in ISL

Chances are, you haven’t thought too much about swimming in the Czech Republic in the last decade or so. It’s probably because you haven’t had much reason to.

Plenty of countries in Eastern Europe have had stars crop up for a turn on the Olympic stage, bringing their flag to the medal stands with them. The Czech Republic hasn’t been among them, at least not since its official split in the Olympic realm from Czechoslovakia.

Barbora Seemanova has every chance of becoming that next Czech swimming star, and the International Swimming League is a perfect stage to showcase what she’s capable of.

Team Iron’s Barbora Seemanova; Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Seemanova has turned heads for Team Iron this season. She’s separated herself from so many depth swimmers into a legitimate, one-to-watch headliner. If Team Iron manages to survive the Match 11 play-in, as the regular-season standings say it should, then Seemanova will be a big reason why. She was 18th in the league MVP standings through 10 matches with 143 points. That’s the second highest total among Team Iron swimmers, trailing only iconic captain Ranomi Kromowidjojo. Considering that Seemanova doesn’t have a specialty that lends itself to skins like Kromowidjojo does in two strokes, it’s even more impressive.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to those that had been watching Seemanova’s rise. At age 21, she’s already a two-time Olympian. She debuted at age 16 in Rio in 2016, swimming the 200 free and fly on a disqualified medley relay.

In Tokyo, she swam the 50, 100 and 200 free. The latter, her signature event, landed her in the final, finishing sixth. It’s the only top-8 finish in the pool for a Czech swimmer since 1996, when it started competing as the Czech Republic. Seemanova also anchored the 400 free relay, a coup just to get to Tokyo. She also won a European championship in the 200 free in May, outdueling Federica Pellegrini, Freya Anderson and Charlotte Bonnet.

Seemanova owns the Czech long-course record in every freestyle race from 50 to 400 meters, including a personal-best 1:55.45 in the 200 from Tokyo.

So those who know of her early career shouldn’t be surprised by what she’s doing in ISL, even if it’s a revelation to the wider world. She’s won three ISL events – two 200 frees and a 400 free – to go with a winning Iron 400 free relay in ISL Match 10. She’s got the second-fastest time in the league in the 200 free at 1:53.31, trailing only Siobhan Haughey. She stands sixth in the 400 free (4:02.09) and 16th in the 100 free (52.31), entering Match 11. All three times are fresh national records, to go with owning the 800 free and 200 fly marks.

ISL seems made for a swimmer like Seemanova. She’s got a strong training base in the Czech Republic – so much so that she had, per European reports, planned in 2019 to enroll at Louisville and train under Arthur Albiero after the Tokyo Olympics but hanged her mind when they were postponed a year. ISL fills that racing vacuum with competition that exceeds even NCAA for intensity, allowing her to continue growing as a professional.

And as her performance in ISL has shown, the sky is the limit.

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