Robert Griswold targets world record after golden start

US swimmer wins two titles in Indianapolis in impressive season-opener 04 May 2018
a male Para swimmer mid breaststroke

Robert Griswold has made a winning start to his 2018 season

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By Adam Bailey | For the IPC

Two gold medals at the World Para Swimming World Series in Indianapolis, USA, ensured it was a winning start to the year for the USA’s Robert Griswold, and now the US swimmer has world records in his sights.

The 21-year-old won gold in both the men’s 400m freestyle and 100m backstroke in Indianapolis; a feat made even more impressive by the fact Griswold competed at his first long course meet of the season following a hard training block and suffering with illness.

“It feels really good to start my international season well, and being in a hard block of training right now and to post a time within a second of my best is really good and bodes well for the rest of my season,” Griswold said.

“I have been training really hard going into this meet with the end of the season in mind. I fought through some illness during the early part of the meet, but I fought back and found a way to perform regardless.”

Indianapolis marked the beginning of Griswold’s international season, and he has one particular focus for 2018.

When asked about this year’s targets, Griswold replied: “I will say plain and simply that I would like to break the world record in the 100m backstroke at the Pan-Pacific Championships in August.”

“After the world championships, I came straight back and took final exams and I was training again within two days of my last race at the worlds. I took a couple of days off at Christmas time but otherwise, I have been back to work preparing for the year ahead.”

The hard work has already started to pay off for Griswold with two golds in Indianapolis, but August’s Pan Pacific Swimming Championships is the main target for the US swimmer in 2018.

The US swimmer relishes the chance to compete against swimmers from other classifications in the World Series.

“The points system for [the] World Series meets is awesome because it allows you to compete against people in all 14 classifications,” Griswold said. “I enjoy getting to compete against people I normally don’t compete with for the multi-class system. It keeps everyone swimming at their best and pushes all the swimmers to our limits.”

In the long-term, there is only one thing on Griswold’s mind.

“Tokyo crosses my mind every single day,” Griswold said. “I have experience of competing at a Paralympic Games under my belt, but every day is a learning process, so that I can go into Tokyo as best prepared as possible.

“However, I am not overlooking the 2019 World Championships. Kuching looks to be a great place with top notch facilities and I am excited to hopefully earn the right to compete there,” Griswold added.

The next event of the World Para Swimming World Series takes place in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, from 24-27 May, before visiting Sheffield, Great Britain, between 31 May and 3 June, and Berlin, Germany, from 7-10 June, for the series finale.