Otylia Jedrzejczak, the First Polish Swimmer To Be Inducted Into The International Swimming Hall of Fame
15 February 2019, 06:35am
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“I was calmed down by the pool, everything was in
order. There, I created stories, wrote many volumes of harlequin, I studied for testing, I sang songs. Water gave me a sense of security. It was a place where the world did not threaten me. I knew it was my time that no one would call, take a break, or take me to another place. Everyone has their homeand they feel calm when they closethe door from the inside. I had water.” – Otylia Jedrzejczak
Otylia Jedrzejczak was born in Ruda Slaska in December of 1983. She has been elected best sportsman three-times in Poland and received the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (5Class) in 2004.
Otylia was diagnosed with a slight curvature of the spine, so she began swimming at age six, because doctors thought it would help. Unfortunately, she had no interest in the sport, but luckily, her father had the last word. Her attitude soon changed after she won her first title at a competition in Germany at age eight. High School was when Otylia began to really take swimming seriously. In 1999, led by coach, Otylia won her first championship at the Junior Europeans in Moscow in the 100m and 200m butterfly, which would soon become her signature event.
Making it to the podium in both the 1999 and 2000 Senior European Championships opened the way to Otylia’s first Olympic appearance in Sydney, 2000. She was the youngest on the team, at only 15 years old, and her coach then was. She placed 5 in the 200m butterfly.
Otylia set her first world record in the 200m butterfly with a time of 2:05.78 at the 2002 European Championships in Berlin. She also took gold in the 200 and a silver in the 100m butterfly.
One year later at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain she won gold in the 200 and silver in the 100m butterfly. She continued her dominance in the 200m butterfly at the 2004 European Championships in Madrid, where she defended her title, along with taking bronze in the 100m butterfly event.
It was at the 2004 Olympics in Athens that Otylia really made her mark by winning gold in the 200m butterfly. She owed her success to a brilliant finish in the last 50 meters of the race, in which she overtook Aussie, who was in the lead for most of the race. In addition to her gold, she took home two silver medals, one in the 100m butterfly and the other in the 400m freestyle. It was during these Games that Otylia equaled the number of medals earned by a Polish athlete in a single Olympics. She ties legendary Polish Sprinter, and makes history in her country.
Otylia revealed after the race that in June at the pre-Olympic Trials, that if she won an Olympic gold medal, she would auction it off and give the proceeds to a charity that helps children suffering with leukemia. The auction was a great success, raising over $101,000 USD. Otylia donated the money to the Oncology and Haenatology Clinic of Wroclaw’s Children’s Hospital.
At the 2005 World Championships in Montreal, Canada, Jedrzejczak once again defended her 200m butterfly title. She improved her own world record by a time of 2:05.61 beating Australianby only 0.04 seconds.
Tragedy stuck Jedrzejczak on October 1, 2005, when she was severely injured in a car accident that tragically killed her 19-year-old brother, Szymon. The accident and its aftermath took its toll on Otylia and she took a break from training. Finally, after nearly 8 months off, Otylia returned to the pool. “After months, I began to feel that the water was friendly with me,” she says.
In 2006, Otylia returned to competitive swimming, participating in the European Championships in Budapest. She finished first in the 200m freestyle and 200m butterfly and with her team, took silver in the 4 x 200m relay.
On December 13, 2007, Otylia’s 24world record in the 200m butterfly in Debrecen, Hungary, in a time of 2:03.53.birthday, she continued her reign at the Short Course World Championships by setting a new
At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Jedrzejczak struggled to regain her dominance, managing to only reach 9place in the 200m freestyle and 17 in the 100. Otylia was hoping to make the podium in her signature event, the 200m butterfly, but just missed it by placing fourth.
After returning from Beijing in 2008, Jedrzejczak told the media that she would most likely retire from her career as a professional swimmer. However, Otylia continued swimming and qualified for the 2012 London Olympics in the 100 and 200m butterfly. Unfortunately, she did not qualify for the finals at the Games. Otylia Jedrzejczak may not have finished her career on the high note she wanted, but her record certainly speaks for itself. Four Olympic Games, three Olympic medals, three World Records and much, much more.
Today, Otylia Jedrzejczak is actively involved in a variety of activities and
She is the founder of the Otylia Jedrzejczak Foundation, which she set up when she was an athlete. The foundation had a positive impact on not only her sports development but also her life. Through the
About The International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Weekend
2019 Paragon Award and ISHOF Specialty Award Recipients
The Weekend Schedule
Friday, May 17th — Paragon & ISHOF Specialty Awards Night
Saturday, May 18th — Honoree Induction Day Luncheon
Official 55th Annual International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Sunday, May 19th — Swim Across America
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