Andi Murez won two NCAA titles at Stanford University. Andi Murez won two NCAA titles at Stanford University. Andi Murez won two NCAA titles at Stanford University. (Photo: Stanford Athletics)

Olympic swimmer reveals her grueling training regimen for Rio

Andi Murez's preparations for 2016 Summer Games include weightlifting, Pilates and lots and lots of laps.

Andi Murez grew up swimming in her native California, but this summer at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, she’ll be competing for Israel. Both she and her brother Zachary participated in Israel’s Maccabiah Games in 2009 and 2013, and she had such a great time that she decided to move there in November 2014 to train with the Israeli national team at the Wingate Institute in the coastal city of Netanya.

“They have a great facility and training program there, where a lot of the top swimmers train,” Murez tells From The Grapevine. She has qualified to swim in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and may do so in the 200-meter freestyle, 100- and 200-meter backstroke, and 4x100 freestyle relay.

Her training is intense leading up to Rio. Three days per week, she swims two four-hour sessions and lifts weights in the gym, and on alternate days she does one two-hour session. At Wingate, she does an hour of Pilates each week and soothes her muscles with a massage.

Her specialties are the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter freestyle.Andi Murez's specialties are the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter freestyle. (Photo: Stanford Athletics)

But she’s spent a lot of time in the last few months swimming at pools elsewhere, training for several weeks in Flagstaff, Arizona, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the high altitude makes athletes work harder and improve their conditioning. Then it was on to Europe to train in Spain prior to the European Aquatics Championships held in London in May. The Israeli team will continue training in Sao Paulo before moving to the Olympic Village.

It’s something Murez has been working toward since she got serious about swimming at age 12. Introduced to the sport at summer camp when she was 7, she swam on a club team in Santa Monica and was a star on the team at Stanford University, where she majored in pre-med. “We won the national title in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays in my junior year,” she says proudly.

Her best event – and the one that may give her the best chance to win a medal – is the 100-meter freestyle. To get there, she’ll need to “train hard, keep my fitness up and work on the details of my race,” she says.

Below is a video interview she gave last year when she first found out she would be participating in the Olympics:

Murez’s parents and brother – who is now retired from competitive swimming – will be in Rio to cheer her on, and she hopes to be able to travel with them and see the sights after her events. Travel, along with art and photography, is her passion. She also wants to attend other competitions in volleyball and sports Israelis are participating in, including judo and synchronized swimming.

Although at 24 she hasn’t decided whether to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Japan, she does hope to compete in the 2017 Maccabiah Games in Israel. But Murez is also eager to start on her career path outside the pool, “whether that’s medical school or something else. I haven’t had a real job yet,” she says.

One strong possibility is staying in Israel to attend medical school at Tel Aviv University, with an eye toward specializing in pediatrics. “But I also have an interest in sports medicine,” she tells us. “I like working with people especially children, so that‘s why the medical field seems like a good path for me.”

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