Louis Croenen wants to show himself in Budapest, but remains cautious:

Louis Croenen wants to show himself in Budapest, but remains cautious: “I am now in my best form of the season, but it is still difficult for me to estimate whether I will match my real top times.” © BELGA

Louis Croenen dives into the pool of Budapest on Monday following the World Swimming Championships. For the athlete from Kempen, who takes part in the 100 and 200 m butterfly in Budapest, this World Cup is the first major test of the season on the long track, after he improved his national top times several times in the winter.

Annelies Frederickx

From Monday, Louis Croenen will compete in Budapest at the World Championships long track. De Kempenaar set several Belgian short track records in the winter, but now he saw his preparation significantly disrupted, partly due to the rescheduling of this World Cup and a corona infection.

The World Swimming Championships start for you on Monday with the 200m butterfly. Are you ready for it?

Louis Croenen: “I hope to be ready. My preparation has been different than usual, because I have been working with a new coach since September. A change of trainers always requires some adjustment time, but during the short track season my results were already good. I swam several national records and was clearly in the right flow† In February, however, I contracted a corona infection. As a result, I was in a serious dip for a month. I recovered less quickly and also had less lung capacity. Fortunately, I recovered quickly and completely from this.”

The World Cup has changed location and date in recent months? Did that interfere with your preparation?

“For me personally, this was not really a problem. The coach, on the other hand, had to adjust the schedule every time. Normally the World Cup was supposed to take place in Japan last month, but that was cancelled. In mid-February it was decided to let the World Cup take place after all, but in Budapest. As a result, the planning was often shaken up, especially because there is another European Championship in Rome. However, this switch also has advantages. Going to Japan is nice, but there we were probably confronted with many restrictions. Here in Budapest, they just took two corona tests and that’s it. There are no longer any other restrictions. That would have been completely different in Japan, because there we were probably completely cut off from the outside world again. Moreover, Hungary is in the same time zone as Belgium and there was therefore no question of jet lag. These are all significant advantages.”

When is the World Cup successful for you?

“I will start on Monday with the 200m butterfly and I am looking forward to that distance with great anticipation. At the Mare Nostrum meetings I clocked 1:57 three times in the 200m and hopefully I will swim a lot faster now. That can hardly be otherwise, because four weeks ago I was still fully in a training period. Nevertheless, I took part in those meetings, in order to gain some competition rhythm. After all, I wanted to know if my race plan was correct and if my frequency was right. Both parts already received a good evaluation at the time, so I was able to build on this in the past few weeks. I am now in my best form of the season, but it is difficult to estimate whether I will match my real top times. That will only become apparent during the game itself, of course. I hope to finish in the top-16 and then compete in the semi-finals for a place in the final. To succeed, I will of course have to swim top times, because the level is very high on the international stage.”

Is it a disadvantage to be the only male Belgian swimmer at this World Cup?

“I missed it as a team to live towards a championship. Consciously and unconsciously you pep each other up and push each other forward. I have always trained alone in the run-up to this World Cup and to be honest I missed training partners. Now I have not been able to measure myself with anyone else. As a result, I am still with a few question marks at the start, but by the start of my World Cup on Monday, they will undoubtedly all have disappeared. I am a real championship swimmer. In the past I could always recharge myself before a big race and that will certainly happen now. The fact that you are on the international stage at a World Cup and walking around among all the world top players simply gives a boost and immediately puts you in the right vibe.”

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