Andreas Vazaios: Greek Australian fans will be my strength at Melbourne swimming championship

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By Bill Roumeliotis.

Greek champion swimmer, Andreas Vazaios, is on his way to Melbourne for the upcoming 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) 2022 which will be held between December 13 – 18.

This will be the first time that Melbourne has hosted the prestigious short course event.

Ahead of his arrival, The Greek Herald spoke exclusively with Andreas to hear about his training and how he feels ahead of the tournament.

When are you arriving in Melbourne and what event are you competing in?

I arrive in Melbourne on Tuesday, December 6 along with my teammates, Apostolos Christou and Kristian Gkolomeev, and our coaches. I will competing at the 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) 2022 in the 100m mixed, 200m mixed and 400m mixed events.

Andreas Vazaios.

When did you first start training and how many hours a week do you train?

I started training from a young age of just 3 years old. I love water and ever since then I have been constantly in the pool.

Currently I have been training for about 18 hours a week as the championship is demanding.

You study whilst also training for the championship. How difficult is that?

Personally, I can’t say I had a lot of difficulty, both at the University of North Carolina in the USA and during my master’s degree in England. I managed to combine both with some proper planning. I studied sports psychology which was my dream. I got my degree without having to stop swimming.

You have participated in three Olympic Games and numerous European championships. Do you feel you have been deprived of things because of swimming?

No. I hear from many athletes that they were deprived of many things to get to where they are. I personally can’t say that. It is my choice to do sport and I am happy to be in the swimming pool rather than cafeteria and bars. I’ve had great times doing high level sports.

Do you have any career highlights?

My most important career moment was in 2012 when I qualified for the London Olympic Games. The Olympic Games are a wish and dream of every athlete. Of course, I won’t forget entering the Olympic stadium in London at the opening ceremony and then later in Rio and Tokyo [Olympic Games]. It is a great honour for an athlete to parade in front of thousands of spectators and officials wearing the coat of arms of his country.

Of course, I will also always remember the gold medals I won in 2019 in the 200m individual medley at the European Short Course Championships in Glasgow, setting a European record and becoming the first Greek swimmer to become European champion in the short pool. Also, in the same event one day later, I won a second gold in the 200m butterfly.

Two years later, I was again European champion at the European Short Course Championships in Kazan in the 200 meter medley. It is a great moment to step up to the highest podium and hear the national anthem of Greece and the blue and white flag waving.

What are your thoughts on sport in Greece at the moment?

In recent years, swimming in Greece has made significant leaps thanks to technology, good coaches and, of course, talent. We would have achieved more awards if the state helped us. Unfortunately this is not the case, but we are trying our best and the new generation of athletes will continue the work we will leave them when the time comes to retire.

Do you have a message for Greek Australians ahead of your Melbourne visit?

The first thing I want is for us all to be united. During my student years in the USA, I saw up close how Greek the expatriates are. I studied in an area of ​​North Carolina where only two Greek families lived and I saw up close how much the Greek immigrant loves Greece.

As for our compatriots in Australia, I have heard a lot about them and I will be happy not only to meet them in person, but I also want them by our side to give us extra strength in the Melbourne games.

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