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Sun Apr 20 08:25:39 SAST 2014

'Extra muscles slowed me down'

Sapa-AFP | 17 September, 2011 17:210 Comments
Britta Steffen of Germany celebrates after breaking the world record setting a new time of 52.07 seconds in the Women's 100m Freestyle Final during the 13th FINA World Championships at the Stadio del Nuoto on July 31, 2009 in Rome, Italy
Image by: Al Bello / Getty Images

Olympic 50m and 100m freestyle champion Britta Steffen says she has ditched weight-training from her programme ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games as she says extra muscles have slowed her down.

The 27-year-old Berliner flopped at the World Swimming Championships in Shanghai, China, in July when she failed to defend  either the 50m or 100m world titles she won in Rome two years ago.

   The German then fled Shanghai after her embarrassing performance, which she blames on a weight-training programme that she says turned her into ’a little body-builder’.

   “I was so muscular that after 50 metres, I didn’t have any strength left,” she said having won two golds at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

   “That is when stamina comes into play and I should have done a lot more training in that area.”   

Having been heavily criticised in the German media for both her performance in Shanghai and her hasty exit, Steffen says she needs to rebuild some confidence.

   She will race the short-course World Cup season which starts October 7-9 in Dubai and includes her home city of Berlin on the seven-meet itinerary.

   “I think I need to find the old Britta Steffen again, the one who can win medals at the Olympics,” she said.

   Steffen says she has learnt from the Shanghai disappointment.

   “If you’re going through something like that, then you have to pull yourself out of the mud,” she said.

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