Turkish swimmer’s decision to train in Turkey behind his success, says coach
A 23-year-old Turkish swimmer, Emre Sakçı, who has accomplished success by breaking various European records in the International Swimming League in Budapest was made possible due to his decision to receive training in Turkey right from the beginning of his career despite getting the chance to go abroad, coach Türker Oktay said on Nov. 19.
“Bob Bowman, the ex-consultant of Turkish Swimming Federation, asked Emre to continue his career in the United States. But Emre refused and stayed in Turkey,” said Oktay, adding that those who went to the U.S. with Bowman could not achieve any success.
When asked the reason for the refusal by the swimmer, Oktay stated: “We believed in ourselves. We said, ‘We cannot beat our foreign competitors with an admiration for foreigners.’ So, we stayed in İzmir.”
Oktay also noted that Bowman was once the coach of the legendary swimmer Michael Phelps. “When his contract with the federation ended in 2017, he took five swimmers with him to the U.S. None of them could succeed in short course in the European races.”
According to Oktay, Sakçı was just 11 when he first met him. “One year later, we started to work with Emre in the Fenerbahçe club.”
The long-term strategies that Oktay drew paid off when Sakçı was 17 years old. He broke the world record in the youth category and acquired the fifth position in 2018 across the globe and second place in 2019 across Europe. The same year, he broke another European record also.
Oktay said they mainly focused on breaststroke races for Sakçı. “We did not want distractions, so we just concentrated on one type of race.”
On Oct. 26, Sakçı broke a European record by finishing the men’s 50-meter breaststroke in 25.50 seconds. On Nov. 5, he broke his own record with 25.29 seconds in Budapest.