The moment would surely come soon, almost every athlete in this situation would have at least acted like this: As the favorite over 400 meters, who was far ahead of everyone else in the heat in the stuffy Berlin Olympic Stadium, you let it coast down in the last few meters. That is also a signal to the competition: look, I still have strength, you will really despair of her in the final. But Corinna Schwab, who now rushed through her lead in such a superior manner, simply stayed at the stop, and that could also be understood as a programmatic hint: This athlete in the dark blue dress does not do things like many others.
So it happened that at the weekend, at the German Athletics Championships in Berlin, already cheered Schwab’s lead. 50.91 seconds, no other German had covered the stadium lap as fast in the past 20 years. “Internationally there are three rounds”, preliminary, semi-finals, final, Schwab later explained her tactics, “you have to give everything right away so that you have a chance of making it to the next round.”
To rehearse all this now, when in the next two months world and European championships are certainly not a bad idea. And the 51 seconds, she always wanted to undercut anyway, said Schwab, she added: “But of course I don’t want to rest on my laurels either.”
Corinna Schwab from LAC Erdgas Chemnitz, 23 years old, has usually been there in recent years when there was something to be won over the shorter and longer sprint distances. She was U-18 World Champion in the sprint relay, won silver and bronze in the 4×400 meter selection at the continental junior title fights. The 400-meter title now in Berlin was her third in the adult category, even if her strength left her legs quite a bit in the final on the home stretch, she ultimately needed 51.61 seconds.
Schwab wants to show “that we Germans can run over 400 meters fast”
But all this should only be the beginning of a beautiful, long way, in contrast to those little stars that often fade away between youth and adult areas. In the long term, she wanted to show again “that we Germans can run over 400 meters fast,” Schwab had announced a long time ago. The last individual final for the time being, which a German runner helped to shape, was actually eleven years ago: Janin Lindberg came fifth at the European Indoor Championships.
Schwab grew up in the Upper Palatinate, at TV Amberg, in the athletics in, their trainers Gundy and Lutz Glaser were quickly convinced of this single-minded talent. She was talented in the short and long sprint distances, ran the 200 meters in the U20 class in 23.55 seconds – most recently, in Wetzlar, she even impressed with a time of 22.51.
But she sees herself firmly on the double route, she confirmed in Berlin, and so far things have always progressed there: the first time under 53 seconds, under 52, now the blast in the Olympic Stadium. The youth national coach Claudia Marx once said that Schwab is a “quiet guy” and that she strikes “at the right moment.” She often ran best times in the finals of major junior events, another rare strength.
If you understand Schwab correctly, she also draws her current strength from a major setback: in 2019, when she moved from Amberg to Chemnitz to study economics and join the training group of national coach Jörg Möckel, she suffered a broken foot. Your training group around Rebekka Haase (200-meter champion in Berlin in 23.02) and 400-meter runner Manuel Sanders, who should pull you to success, first had to stretch a network of support. That, Schwab says today, carried her through some dark moments.
At the same time, she quickly came to an agreement with Möckel: “We’ll roll up the field again, see: How do the good international athletes train?” It was precisely this defensiveness, convincing over several rounds at championships – not exactly a German strength in the end – that was hard work, said Schwab: with over-distances, fast 500 meters, for example (“not my favorite route”), also with hard units two days and one day off, “to recover and then to push the limits back up”. Sometimes, says Schwab, she’s also learned that, it’s worth it if your career doesn’t progress for a while – if that serves long-term success.
She will need her new skills this summer, but the world of running was once again moving in absurd spheres on a global scale. The American Sydney McLaughlin ran the 400 meters at the US Championships in 51.41 seconds – with hurdles in the way, a world record. At the World Championships in Eugene, Schwab said in Berlin, she only wants to compete in the mixed relay and the women’s 4×400 meters, because the chances of advancing to the final are higher (and securing better funding). For the EM in Munich it would certainly look more edifying in the individual; So far only Mujinga Kambundji (Switzerland) and Dina Asher-Smith (Great Britain) have been faster in Europe over the 200 meters. In any case, Corinna Schwab will try again: to be there when it counts.