The Domestic Opportunities And International Career Of Rostislav Vítek
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“I always scratch my head when administrators do not try everything possible to help swimmers race, especially when those swimmers represent their country in international competitions,” mused Steven Munatones. “The recent case faced by Rostislav Vítek is another example.”
Vítek, a 2008 Beijing Olympian in the 10 km marathon swim, explained his predicament from Koupaliště Kraví hora, “I trained at the Czech Championship for 10 km which will take place tomorrow at the Sečské Dam. Unfortunately, I [was] not accepted because I did not fulfill the condition to swim 5 km in August last year. [But] I was in South Korea for the 3 km masters championship [which] I won [representing the Czech Republic]. Unfortunately, it is not enough [to qualify] for the Czech Championships. Exceptions are not allowed even though I am the only male Czech 10 km Olympian in history.”
The Czech Olympian is one of the most versatile open water swimmers in history. He crossed the English Channel in one of the fastest times in history (7 hours 16 minutes); he competed in multiple FINA World Cup races; he is the holder of multiple Czech records; and he is a world record holder and a world champion in winter swimming.
Munatones says, “Rostislav has put in a good amount of time on behalf of the open water swimming community in the Czech Republic. He served for 4 years as a national open water swimming team head coach for the Czech Republic between 2012 and 2016 And he has helped with junior and senior swimmers. From 2017 until now, he has also served as a national open water swimming head coach for Slovakia junior And senior teams.”
Vítek continued, “I was told that there are more such cases registered. But I ask, are there more swimmers of similar results and experience? I received the answer from the chairman of the Swimming Sport Association that it is not in his competence to do anything about it. A similar response from the chairman of the remote and winter swimming section. There will surely be a lot of swimmers who have a fulfilling condition for participation in the Czech Championship, even from older years.
I ask, is it so difficult to grant an exception? If I had no results and did not swim any races and was not active, I am silent, but when the union tells you that I won the World Championship in August 2020, but only at 3 km and that it is not 5 km. So I see the disgust of anything to do with it. Maybe the fear of accidentally defeating a representative?
Thank you to the Czech Swimming Sports Association and their officials for their motivation. This is what I have for the 25 years of results in Czech and world swimming.”
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