In autumn 2013, Bart Swings became the first inline skater to break the magic 1-hour barrier at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON – and he repeated this masterpiece confidently in the following years, as well. In the winter, the Belgian is active as a speed skater and won silver at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in the mass start.
Five times winner of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. No one ever was as successful as you. How do you explain your overwhelming success?
Bart: I think it has many reasons. I always have strong teammates by my side, like this year again with Felix Rijhnen. They help me a lot during and before the race to get the best possible result. Another reason is the support I get from Powerslide and the innovation Powerslide makes in inline skating. A few years ago we started in Berlin to skate with 125 mm wheels – an innovation by Powerslide which definitely proved to be superior when I broke the record with it. And of course I love to race marathons and for me the BERLIN-MARATHON is the biggest race we have. So every year I'm very motivated when I arrive in Berlin.
What motivates you to come back to Berlin every year?
To win Berlin five times in a row was a big motivation last year for me. It was something I wanted very badly so I was super excited when I made it happen! But again this year I'm already looking forward to race Berlin! Skating underneath the Brandenburg Tor towards the victory is an incredible feeling with all the spectators around Berlin! So I hope I can get this feeling another time.
You won a silver medal at this year’s Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. How difficult was the transition from inline to ice skating?
It was a big challenge for me when I changed eight years ago to ice skating. I grew up with inline skates so I feel home on inlines but on ice skates I have to think more, technically it's more difficult for me and challenging. But I'm very happy I tried this challenge which gave me the silver medal! It was the goal to get an Olympic medal when I started with ice skating.
Which skaters inspired you when you first started?
Chad Hedrick always was an inspiration to make the transition to ice skating. He showed it was possible for an inline skater to win Olympic medals.
What is your goal for this year’s BMW BERLIN-MARATHON? How is your competition with Felix Rijhnen?
Felix and I are teammates in Powerslide, so we will be racing together at the BERLIN-MARATHON. My goal and our goal is to win! We are a strong team together and I believe we can win. If one of us can win, that would be fantastic!
What are your training habits?
I train two times every day and usually six days in the week, Friday is my restday :-) Usually one training per day is on skates, approximately two hours. My other trainings can be cycling, power training or plyometrics.
How long do you expect to skate professionally?
My next big goal are the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2022! So I expect to skate professional at least until then. What happens after 2022 – I don't know yet :-)