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July 30, 2004

Across the Atlantic Ocean in Croatia, rising second-year Vanja Rogulj prepares to compete against the top swimmers in the world at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Anyone would be a little nervous. Not Rogulj. “I have nothing to lose, so I don’t really feel nervous right now. I’m really excited for it,” he says. Of course, this isn’t his first time in this situation. Rogulj competed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia and numerous other international meets since then.

Despite his cool attitude, Rogulj says he recognizes the challenges awaiting him in Athens and is putting a lot of preparation into competing at the meet, acknowledging, “Everybody else is swimming really fast and the field is very dense. I’ll have to be on top of my game”. He recently changed his training regimen in anticipation of the competition. The new training plan seems to be working. “I think I’m right where I need to be in order to be ready for the Olympics. I feel good in the water, but not as good as I think I will in August. I think I’m on track to peak at the Games,” commented Rogulj. He also took a three-week training trip to Moscow with the rest of the Croatian National Team to prepare.

As one of the top 50 breaststrokers in the world in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke events, he hopes this year he will jump higher in the rankings with his performance in August and improve upon his finish from 2000. Rogulj stated, “In Sydney, I was thirtieth in the 100 breaststroke mostly because of a groin injury that I had and also due to a lack of experience. Hopefully this time I’ll make the semi-finals. I believe if I make semis, that even the finals are not out of grasp”.

So how does a twenty-two year old collegiate swimmer remain so confident and calm in the face of such a major competition? “I see the bigger picture. These Olympics should just be one more meet toward a greater plan of being one of the best breaststrokers in the world,” he replied.

Log onto to read the latest from Virginia’s rising second-year Vanja Rogulj as he prepares to compete in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games.

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