Otopeni 2023: Wiffen twins targeting medals, finals and records in Romania

Credit to: Swim Ireland

A trilogy of gold medals, European finals and a world record are amongst the goals that twins Daniel and Nathan Wiffen have heading into the European Short Course Championships.

The pair will travel to Otopeni on a high following some recent strong performances at the British University and College Sport Swimming championships (BUCS).

There, they took home gold and silver in the men’s 1500m freestyle, with Daniel posting the number one fastest time in the world this year (14:20.75).

A dominant display from the elder twin Daniel in both the 400m and 800m freestyle also earned him the world’s highest-ranked times in those events.

“To be honest, I was quite surprised,” Daniel told European Aquatics. “I am the European record holder in the 800 so I do expect to be there – number one in the world – but the 400 was kind of a shock.”

“I’d like to be able to repeat the number one times [in Otopeni] and go for three golds maybe, you never know.”

With plans to defend his European record (7:25.96) in the 800m freestyle, Daniel will also be chasing something bigger at this meet.

 “To be honest, I think the world record isn’t too far away either in the 800. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’ll have that in the sights.”

The current 800m freestyle (SC) world record of 7:23.42 was posted in 2008 by Australia’s Grant Hackett and is the longest-standing individual men’s world record.

FIRST FOR IRELAND

Credit to: Dan Wiffen: Photo Courtesy: István Derencsény/European Aquatics

The 22-year-old brothers are well accustomed to racing side by side, although this event marks the first time they will compete on an Irish international team together.

For Nathan, it also signifies his first international senior team call-up. “I want to start my international experience off with a final in the 800 or 1500m free, that’s what I want to do,” said Nathan.

“If we’re both in a final, we’ll be one quarter of that final so that makes it easier for us because we know how each other train and we know each other’s race strategies,” added Daniel.

‘NO-ONE TRAINS HARDER THAN US’

Credit to: Swim Ireland

The Loughborough-based swimmers credit their programme, attitude to training and emphasis on racing as the key ingredients to their success.

“I’m going to put it out there: I don’t think anyone trains harder than me in the world. And I don’t think anyone trains harder than Nathan either,” said Daniel.

“I’d say I was pretty average before I joined Loughborough,” he added. “My first year I made the Olympics and then every year have stepped it up. I think it’s mainly because the size of the distance group that we have, it’s probably one of the biggest in the world and we’ve got some of the best athletes in the world.”

The brothers will be part of a 17-strong Irish team heading to the event.

Having made his European short course debut at Glasgow in 2019, Daniel said: “This will be my second European Short Course Championships and it will hopefully be a lot more fun for me because I’ll be contending for medals.”

“It’s quite a big venue so I’m going to embrace the crowd and look forward to it,” concurred Nathan.

LOOKING AHEAD

With Daniel’s Olympic qualification time already secured, Nathan is targeting next year’s Irish Olympic Trials as his chance to do the same.

“I definitely want to get the Olympic time,” said Nathan. “I have to get it in the May trials and I want to get two. The 1500m freestyle will probably be a lot harder but I think it’s a good challenge,” he added.

You will be able to follow all of the latest news and videos from Otopeni 2023 via the European Aquatics website and social media channels, with LIVE STREAMS available via All Aquatics.