German brothers Malte and Ole Braunschweig are currently living their Paralympic and Olympic dream.
Both have qualified for Tokyo 2020 and will compete in the same Aquatics Centre in the Japanese capital. Ole will return to the water on Friday (30 July), day six of the swimming events at the Olympic Games. Malte is set to compete in Para swimming from 25 August to 3 September at the Paralympic Games.
Ole was the first of the Braunschweig brothers to start with swimming. He began training at the age of five and Malte followed his older brother into the pool being only three years old.
But Success came first for the younger Braunschweig.
"I was in seventh grade when Malte won his first German championship title," Ole said in an interview to German Paralympic broadcaster ZDF. "I was a bit jealous at the beginning, but I also indulged Malti from the bottom of my heart."
The now 20-year-old Malte was also the first to qualify for Tokyo. His older brother followed his steps in April at the German Olympic trials.
“It was really fantastic,” said Malte of his brother’s qualification for Tokyo.
“We support each other at every competition, every week. My brother had a lot of injuries so I am happy that he got his qualification. It’s such a big achievement. Both of our parents have put a lot of work on us,” he added.
Ole is part of the men’s 4x100m medley relay team that competes in the heats in search for a place on Sunday’s final. He also competed in the men’s 100m backstroke finishing fourth in his heat.
Fine experience in Madeira
Malte is a class S9 swimmer who made his senior international debut at the Dublin 2018 European Championships. He was born with dysmelia, a malformation of the right arm.
The younger Braunschweig also at the London 2019 World Para Swimming Allianz Championships and most recently at the Madeira 2020 European Open Championships in May.
“The island was very beautiful and the competition was very good. My 100m butterfly was ok, I am not happy, but it was ok,” said Malte of his experience in Madeira.
“I wanted to make good results, a lot of personal bests and some finals. Those were my goals.”
His best result in Portugal was a sixth place in the men’s 100m freestyle S9, while in the men’s backstroke S9 he finished in the the seventh position.
Dreams for Tokyo
Madeira 2020 was organised under strict COVID-19 protocols and without spectators. It was the first major competition in a year and a half. The athletes stayed in a competition bubble which also served as test for Tokyo 2020.
“It was rough. I was really excited beforehand because you meet a lot of people from around the world. The break was tough.”
Malte’s last event before the Paralympic Games was the World Series in his hometown Berlin in June with Ole watching it.
It is the first time Germany has a brother competing in the Olympics and the other in the Paralympics. But the Braunschweig swimmers have higher plans for Tokyo 2020.
“Personal bests, another new experience and maybe a final. Let’s see,” said Malte.