A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

By Duc Dong   October 11, 2021 | 07:00 pm GMT+7
Before deciding to retire in October, Nguyen Thi Anh Vien had solidified her place as one of the best swimmers in Southeast Asia.
A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

During her 10-year professional career, Vien became a legend of Vietnamese swimming and one of the most successful athletes in SEA Games history with 25 gold medals. Her other accolades include a bronze and silver at Asian Swimming Championships, two bronze at Asian Games, a Youth Olympic gold, and a Swimming World Cup silver.

She also dominated domestic tournaments with dozens of gold medals and multiple records broken. The 25-year-old is also the only Vietnamese swimmer to take part in three consecutive Olympic events.

A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

Vien started her first swimming lessons when she was five and quickly progressed. At 15, she won 10 gold medals at the national swimming championship for different ages. Vien participated in her first SEA Games in 2011 and claimed two silvers. A year later, a 16-year-old Vien competed in her first Olympics.

At SEA Games 2013, Vien started to shine, winning three gold, two silver, and one bronze medal while breaking two records of the event. After 54 years, a female swimmer from Vietnam finally became a gold medalist.

A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

In 2014, Vien won a gold medal at Youth Olympics and two bronze at Asian Games.

A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

2015 was the most successful year for Vien. She won eight individual gold medals and broke seven records at SEA Games. She went on to claim two silver and a bronze at FINA Swimming World Cup.

A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

After an unsuccessful Olympic tournament in 2016, Vien continued to dominate SEA Games 29 with eight gold, two silver and three more broken records.

A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

"I have won many medals and broken multiple records at SEA Games, but I won't stop moving forward. If I'm satisfied with what I have achieved, I'll be a failure. I always leave my achievements behind and keep going further," Vien said.

A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

At SEA Games 2019, Vien wasn't on her best form but still won six gold and two silver medals.

A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

Coach Dang Anh Tuan played an important role in Vien’s successful career. He started mentoring Vien in 2010.

A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

With her achievements, Vien has become an icon of Vietnamese sports in the past decade. She was awarded the first class Labor Order in 2019.

Besides her accolades and success, Vien faced many challenges during her career like staying far from home for many years, only having seven days off per annum and 30 minutes of talking to her family on the phone each week, no social media, no makeup.

A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

After parting ways with coach Tuan in 2019, Vien's form started to drop. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Vien wasn't able to train or compete overseas for over a year, which caused her trouble at Tokyo Olympics.

A decorated decade for Vietnam’s number one swimmer

Recently, Vien decided to retire so she could spend more time on herself and family. However, sports officials are encouraging Vien to continue and compete for Vietnam in SEA Games 31 in May next year. A year ago, Vien also planned to retire but decided to keep going.

 
 
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