Anna misery could hardly believe her luck. Immediately after her race over 100 meters breaststroke at the swimming world championships in Budapest, the woman from Frankfurt was desperate for words. Silver not only meant the best result of her young career. On Monday, Elendt also ended a 13-year wait in the German Swimming Association for a short-distance World Championship medal. The title fights in 2009 were the last time there was a medal in individual 50 or 100 meter distances, including two gold medals for Britta Steffen.
The always self-confident and easy-going Elendt had gone into the final as the semi-finalist and had quite a bit of respect for that. After all, she was on starting block four for the first time at an international championship. “I’d rather be the hunter than the hunted,” she had said, wanting to come up with a strategy overnight.
Before the eyes of her parents, who had traveled from Frankfurt, the 20-year-old started cautiously. Halfway through the race she was seventh, before she overtook one competitor after the other with an irresistible final sprint. She clocked a time of 1:05.98 minutes, only five hundredths of a second behind the new world champion Benedetta Pilato from Italy.
In Germany, Anna Elendt has so far only been known in insider circles. A consequence of her studies in the USA, where she trains in the extremely strong training group of head coach Carol Capitani at the University of Texas. This year, Elendt had smashed the German records on all three breaststroke courses. The 20-year-old, who was originally at the front especially in the 50-meter distance, had focused on the 100 meters for this World Cup. “I want to see how I’ve developed, what I can achieve in direct comparison with the world’s best,” said Elendt before the title fights. Now she is the second best 100m breaststroke swimmer in the world.