Team Visa CEMEA Hopeful
Date of birth: 15/09/86
Sport: Swimming - 100m & 200m Backstroke
Achievements to date:
Athens 2004 - 17th (100m)
Athens 2004 - 13th (200m)
Indianapolis 2004 - 5th (50m)
Croatian National Championships, new Croatian record (50m)
European Championships, Eindhoven: 3rd
European Short Course Championships, Manchester: 1st (World Short Course Record)
Debrecen, Hungary 2007 (Short Course) - Gold and New World Record (50m)
Madrid 2004 - 3rd (200m)
Sanja was born on 15th September, 1986 in Dubrovnik and started actively swimming in 1994. Since December 2000 she has recorded 167 National records, with 63 of those senior records. Specialising in backstroke, the first major medal she won was in 2001 during the Mediteranean Games in Tunis, followed a year later by a bronze medal in the Junior European Championships in Linz.
On a personal level she is a fighter, she doesn't like to lose and always gives 100%. Her motivation is to help her mother, who is raising her and three sisters on her own. During the war, even during the bombing in Dubrovnik, she didn't miss a single training session.
Her dedication has paid off. At the European Championships in 2004 she won a bronze medal in 200m backstroke. At the 2004 Athens Olympics she made the semi-finals and broke the Croatian national record. At the 2004 World Championships she finished in fifth place in the 50m backstroke. At the following World Cup meetings she won her first medals in World C Competition: two silvers and a bronze. During the 2006 National Championship, she proved herself as the number one Croatian swimmer by winning the following: 50m free style, 50m bs, 100m bs, 200m bs, 50m butterfly and 200m mix.
During August 2007, she swam a new 50m butterfly National Record and followed it up with the National Record for the 50m backstroke (for the first time under 29 sec: 28,95). On the last day of the meeting she broke Tea Cerkvenik's 14 year old 50m freestyle National Record.
November saw Sanja shatter more records. She broke the European record in the 50m backstoke and on the very same day she also broke the Croatian 200m backstroke record, by improving her own record to 2.09.66.
In December 2007 at the European Championships in Hungary, Sanja broke the 50m backstroke short course World Record in a time of 26.5 seconds to storm to the Gold Medal and break the previous record by 0.33 seconds. On the same day she also broke the Croatian 200m backstroke record, by improving her own record to 2.09.66.
In March 2008 she went to Eindhoven for the European Championships. Having qualfied for the final easily, she made a great start, but faded slightly and finished in a very respectacle 3rd place.
Sanja’s form continued to improve at her most recent event, the ‘Golden Bear’ in Zagreb where she won Gold medals in the 50 meter (where she tied the latest European record with a time of 28:05) and the 100 meter backstroke short course (1:01:09 seconds). Sanja also won Bronze in the 200 meter backstroke short course event (2:12:65 seconds).
She has already made the Olympic qualifying standard for Beijing.