The Greek swimmer becomes “Golden” at the European Championship in Romania
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The Greek swimmer becomes “Golden” at the European Championship in Romania

The Greek swimmer, Anna Ntountounaki, wrote her name in gold letters in the bible of Greek swimming, winning the Gold Medal in the 50m butterfly at the European Championships in the 25m pool, making our national anthem to be heard in Romania and in Otopeni, where the event takes place. Just two days before, Nantounaki won the bronze medal in the 100-meter butterfly, a distinction that could be considered a harbinger of her new great success.

In a race that broke hearts with successive upsets, Anna Dtounaki demonstrated her incredible perseverance. In the first 25 she was in third place, but in the second part of the race she stepped up strongly and finished at the same time as Dutchwoman Tessa Hiele, setting an impressive time of 25.10, while Sarah Yunevik finished in third place with a time of 25.16.

This was the fifth medal won by Dounounaki at the European Championships level, following her silver in the 100m butterfly in 2021 in Kazan and two more bronze medals in similar events.

Who is Anna Ntountounaki

She was born in Chania, Crete and as she has stated, she considers it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Her relationship with the wet element began at a very young age, specifically in kindergarten. She started swimming and then continued with synchronized swimming. She liked dancing, she was impressed by swimsuits and so, after a lot of training and dedication, it wasn’t long before little Anna joined the National Synchronized Swimming Team. But she stopped in the third grade since in order to be on the National Team, she had to do training in Athens and could not combine it with her high school commitments. The last event she participated in was the Comen Cup in Chania, where she won her first international medal.

She consistently continued her studies in high school, as athletics was a bug she could not get rid of. She took up swimming again as a hobby and to keep her body from breaking down, but from race to race, she saw improvement and her potential could not leave her indifferent. In the summer of 2011, she qualified for the final of the European Championships as runner-up, equaling the national record. Anna never stopped swimming. She combined it intensively with studying and managed to pass the Law School with 18,962 points, without using the bonus of points she had from her participation in the European Junior Women’s Championship.

Her lucky city

She refers to Antwerp as her lucky city. There, Anna managed to reach the threshold for participation in the first world championships, there and for participation in the 2016 Olympics. “In Rio I fought hard to get to the semi-finals. I set a national record, but I finished 17th. The 16 were passing. I was sad and cried. But now I think maybe it was better. I knew that swimming the distance in under 58 seconds was a time that didn’t represent me.”

In 2017, Anna changed coaches and began working with Vangelis Kozobolis. “It was a really challenging year. The fatigue from the Olympics affected me a lot, and at first I couldn’t see the real value of the work that Mr. Kozobolis was doing. This man supported me a lot back then and he still continues to support me. Some of my friends led me to Tasos Karambela and that’s how I found myself in Kallithea. At the Mediterranean Games in the same year, the individual wasn’t what I expected, but in the relay I did under 58′ for the first time”, where I also won the bronze medal.

“The next challenge was the Europeans in Glasgow. There, too, my time was under 58 – I missed the medal by millimetres.” In December 2019, she won her first medal at a European Championships. “When I got to the final and saw that I went fast in the 50, I looked at my opponents and thought that no one is better than me. I finally won the bronze medal.”