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Across the water

15 February 2018

Amina sitting pretty poolside wearing Barnamboo in Single Strap One Piece

Amina's swimming journey has taken her away from the war-torn streets of her home city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, over the border and onto the road to Rio. The 20-year old's target destination is Tokyo, where she hopes to represent her country again in the Olympic Games.

Amina grew up in Mostar in the aftermath of the Balkans War of the 1990s. Mostar was the most heavily bombed Bosnian city during the conflict caused by the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. The city's troubled past resonates today as the region still suffers from political volatility and long-term economic damage.

Amina "fell in love" with swimming when she was six years old. Despite woefully inadequate facilities, a pool barely long enough to train in and freezing cold showers after, her swimming passion wasn't thwarted. Her talent and dedication shone through and after eleven years of difficult training conditions, Amina decided to move to neighbouring Croatia, where she had access to a better training pool in Zagreb, a well-equipped gym, sports massage and nutritional advice.

Amina wears Pooch Party in Single Strap One Piece

What were your reasons for moving to Croatia and how do you feel?

I moved to Croatia for a better future. On the one hand I'm sad because I am far from my home. On the other hand I'm happy because it will be a great experience. The people are similar to Bosnians, but the political situation in Croatia is better.

When did you start to dream of going to the Olympics?

My goal of going to the Olympics began when I was 17 years old. At 16, I decided to move to the capital city of Sarajevo to study and swim, because my progress and the conditions would be better than in Mostar. Then my coach, ex-European champion Borut Petric, invited me to Dubrovnik in Croatia to train.

What do you think is the greatest achievement in your career so far?

Definitely the Olympics in Rio. During the 2 years leading up to it I knew I had to work towards swimming 7 seconds faster than my personal best. I was very happy when I did!

Any other memorable locations where swimming has taken you?

I competed at the World Cup in Dubai, which is an interesting destination and different to other cities. I met Hungary's Katinka Hosszu and it was a pleasure to swim with such a star.

Who else inspires you?

My coach is my authority figure. I think it's very important to trust and listen to your coach, because they want to get the best out of you. Good results won't come if you don't have confidence and respect.

And your family?

My parents and sister are a massive support. They are very proud of me, because they know how hard it is to wake up early every morning and jump into the water to swim length after length. They have encouraged me in every one of my decisions and I am grateful to them.

What do you like to do when you are not training or competing?

I'm not at home very often, so I like to go back to Mostar. I can't wait to enjoy some quality time with my family, and go shopping or to the cinema with friends.

Do you think you had to grow up earlier than your friends from school because of your swimming?

Yes, as every swimmer knows, we have a lot of commitments and have to organise our own time for study, training, friends. It mentally strengthens us and that's a great life lesson. We also have to deal with not winning!

Is healthy food important for you?

I try to eat healthy food because I think it's very important in every sport, not just swimming. You are what you eat. I study nutrition so I know a lot about it. However on the occasional 'cheat day' I sometimes eat junk food, pancakes or cookies!

Amina wears Wing Attack in Single Strap One Piece

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