"Who is Mie Ø. Nielsen? How tall is she? What does she eat for breakfast". For the first time since I've been writing this blog, American swimming fans are actually curious about a Danish swimmer. Why? Because 15 year old Mie Ø. Nielsen went 59.62 at the Danish open to surge into 4th in the world rankings in that event. I'll pretend not to be hurt that no one seemed to care when Danish women went faster times than anyone in the US in the 50,100,800 and 1500 free this past summer. Let me be your one stop shop for more on the latest Dane to become an international contender.
First up, let's answer the basic questions. How tall is she? While I haven't seen her in person, judging from photographs of her alongside other Danish athletes, she looks to be about 6 foot (or 182-183 cm) tall. Who is she? Probably the best Junior athlete to come through the Danish ranks since fellow backstroker Louise
Ørnstedt claimed the European Junior Championship in 2001. There is a tendency in the US to think of foreign athletes as "coming out of nowhere", and as usual this is not true. Nielsen was 1:02.33 as a 13 year old, and 1:01.74 as a 14 year old last year. For a US comparison, that's slightly slower than a 13 and 14 year old Missy Franklin but slightly ahead of the pace of a 13-14 year old Rachel Bootsma. In other words: not bad. Finally, here video of Nielsen swimming (courtesy of top Faroese swim blog svimjing.com) so you can judge for yourself just how far she will go:
Lastly, if you're looking to pronounce her name, here's my best advice:
Ø: Are you seriously going to attempt this? If you are, trying making an "O" sound while swallowing your own tongue. That should about do it.
After that, you can go back to not caring about Danish swimming for another few months.