30 years ago, little stefan didn't eat bratwurst, who did: whether his brother thomas was today's record world champion in open water swimming? But this is how the success story of the wurzburg family lurz began at the water polo players' barbecue stand. Stefan got a sausage there because he promised to drop in on the training of the wurzburg swimming club. He started with water polo, later decided to swim and soon dragged his little brother thomas along with him. Decades later, he would win a series of world championship titles and olympic medals. Animated and trained to high performance by: stefan.
Master thomas is in the water again, so only stefan is available for an interview. Even he has little time, so shortly before the departure: as national coach for open water swimming (competitions in open water), the 36-year-old is traveling with the national team to sardinia to a training camp in preparation for the world swimming championships in barcelona (19. July to 4. August).
Thomas lurz's place in the ten-kilometer race has already been secured, but he still has to qualify for the five-kilometer marathon at the german championships at the end of june. But wait a minute – what has happened in the last 30 years?? National coach, world champion, records … ?
Happened above all: hardest training. As elementary school students, stefan and thomas lurz first learned the swimming strokes twice a week. The best known are breaststroke, crawl, butterfly (dolphin), and backstroke.
"When they were eleven or twelve, they started to think about competitive swimming", said, says stefan lurz. Will heiben: training twice a day, before school early at 6 and after school from 15.30 to 19 o'clock. "This is a fulltime job. Swimming is a very, very training-intensive sport", says stefan. During his training, he moved to the poolside and from 2000 onwards was first assistant and then head coach at the wurzburg swimming club. Since 2008, he has been responsible as national coach for the open water athletes. Apart from his brother, he has just brought two other wurzburgers through the qualification for the world swimming championships. For his successes, stefan lurz was named "coach of the year" for the second time in a row at the beginning of may certified by the german swimming coaches association.
But he remains modest and prefers to put his brother first. "Thomas is our absolute "poster boy", says stefan lurz and adds: thomas has won ten world championship titles in the five- and ten-kilometer distances, and he has won two olympic medals (silver in london in 2012, bronze in beijing in 2008). And he will continue to chase titles, even though he turns 34 this year. "The long distances are comparable to a running marathon. You can do it for a longer time, but of course the recovery time is longer than at the age of 20 and the daily training is not easier", explains stefan lurz. No surprise: thomas completes eleven swimming sessions per week plus six land sessions with strength training, running and cycling. 100 kilometers alone are covered in the water every week. His brother is proud: "thomas trains the hardest of all long-distance athletes in germany, and has been doing so for decades."
Hobby swimmers should not be put off by such targets – but should swim their lanes without any stress. "I can only recommend swimming to everyone", says stefan lurz. "It is a whole-body sport and absolutely healthy." And it makes attractive: "swimmers have beautiful bodies. Not too muscular, but each muscle trained similarly", says lurz and gets a little bit black. His tip: swim back and forth for half an hour a week, preferably in freestyle (crawl). The risk of injury is nil for the general sportsmen, because the weight of the body is carried in the water.
Bamberg sports physician volker schoffl also rates the sport as very healthy (scale on left). He says: "anyone can swim – except someone with an ear condition." And he recommends it to everyone. Swimming is good for endurance, good for burning calories: "a cardiovascular sport". Only in terms of team spirit does swimming come off badly: "you can hardly be more isolated than under water", says schoffl.