World silver medallist Beck (GER), the Italian-German swimmer: “I train in Ostia, this is my home”
She is German but also a little bit Italian. That's because Leonie Beck has been training in Ostia for a year now, so these European championships are also a little bit hers. This morning the swimmer was the star at Casa Arena: smiling and relaxed, she spoke with journalists and immediately stated her love for the Eternal City.
Just before that, she engaged with fans who asked her for photos and autographs: “Rome is a city that I adore. It’s my second home and I love it tremendously." Beck has been training at the Italian Swimming Federation sporting facility Polo Acquatico Frecciarossa in Ostia for a year now with Fabrizio Antonelli's group, alongside Paltrinieri, Acerenza and Verani.
"It is like a family for me, they have welcomed me in a wonderful way. We have a great relationship. I am learning so many things from all points of view. Here we go to the gym more than I used to do before.”
Her relationship with Rome is cemented by food ("I love pizza, I prefer it to pasta") and by her bond to the city centre. Beck has her own favourite spot, the Franciscan Convent of San Bonaventura, on the Palatine Hill: "A priest, a friend of our training coach, took me there. It is a wonderful place, which overlooks the whole city of Rome, including the Colosseum. I've been there twice already, I took my family there as well."
Talking about swimming again, for Beck training with a champion like Paltrinieri is a source of huge motivation. "Greg is a natural talent in everything he does, he has a great mindset, he was born for water. He taught me to take it easy, not to think too much," she said. At the European championships, Beck will focus on the sea, the women's 5km and 10km events, scheduled respectively for August 18 and 19 in the waters of Ostia, which she is very familiar with.
"I really like this venue, I did the 800m freestyle just because I wanted to experience the thrill of swimming in the Foro Italico pool. But in Ostia I will be able to swim in waters that I know. I have been training there for a year. Since 2016 I have been swimming in open water, every race has different conditions, and I have to say that at this time in my career I feel good, somewhere at the top. What do I think about when I swim? It's like a marathon, it's two intensive hours where you have to know how to deal with your mind and energy, not to waste it all right away or fall too far behind." Something that, listening to her, she wouldn’t like at all