Maly spends offseason in the water

Sophomore Jakub Maly competed in two international meets this summer.

Minnesota's Derek Toomey swims in the men's 100-yard breaststroke during the Minnesota Challenge on Feb. 9, 2013, at the University Aquatic Center.

Daily File Photo, Ichigo Takikawa

Minnesota’s Derek Toomey swims in the men’s 100-yard breaststroke during the Minnesota Challenge on Feb. 9, 2013, at the University Aquatic Center.

Danny Chen

Even after winning the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award at the end of last year, Jakub Maly continued to put in work during the offseason.

Instead of going home to Austria for the summer to relax, Maly spent the majority of his time off in Minnesota practicing for two international events that were in August.

“Once school ended in the spring, Jakub really [just] stayed here to train,” head coach Kelly Kremer said.  “[It wasn’t] until when our group here was getting ready to go to the U.S. nationals that Jakub headed home.”

Maly only spent four weeks in his hometown of Vienna, Austria. He used that time to taper before his international meets.

After trying to get some down time, Maly got to work. While at the LEN European Swimming Championships, he competed in five events.

“I was not very happy with the times,” Maly said.  “I was kind of tired.”

Although Maly’s first international meet of the summer didn’t go well, his second meet in Doha, Qatar, was a success.

There, Maly competed in the 200-meter individual medley and the 400-meter individual medley, finishing fifth and fourth overall, respectively.

His performance in Qatar qualified him for the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships this December.

“That was the main reason why I decided to go there,” Maly said.  “I got the cut, and [everything] worked out.” 

The meet in Qatar lasted from Aug. 27-28, giving him less than a week to recover before returning to school.

However, Maly said he didn’t mind his short break.

“It kind of helped me transition [into the season],” Maly said.  “Some of the guys took longer breaks, and I did not have that problem.”

After a long offseason filled with training and competitions, Maly came back to the Gophers, and Kremer named him an assistant team captain.

“He’s growing all the time as an athlete,” Kremer said.  “He’s a little older because he came from Austria, and he had required military service before he came to school here. That maturity is nice because I think it has allowed his improvement curve to go straight up.”

Though Maly is just a sophomore, he has experience beyond his age, and senior captain C.J. Smith said the team is in good hands when Smith graduates. 

“The experiences that Jakub has [are] really important for a team,” Smith said.  “It builds a culture that we are working toward, and it kind of creates that atmosphere for our team to have those expectations as well.  Looking into the future, maybe when I am not here, Jakub will have that experience to step up and lead them to the right direction.”