Monday, March 26, 2012

Danish Phenom Mie Ø. Nielsen

"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 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:

Mie: Mee-eh
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.
Nielsen: Neel-sen

After that, you can go back to not caring about Danish swimming for another few months. 


  1. They look like they are swimming in the dark, until they BLAST the winner with a spotlight. Interesting meet-management decision.

  2. I see that Pal Joensen showed those mainlanders who's boss. Also, a few of the young Danish swimmers have appeared on collegeswimming's recruit database, so I wonder if there's going to be an invasion into the collegiate ranks.

  3. I think I'm in love with this post. Getting to say "Svimjing!" and "Ø" is great fun. (My attempt at the "Ø" kinda sounds like the baby T-Rex from 'The Lost World' -

    Add to that the Windows-like graphic overlays on the YouTube video (complete with li'l X boxes to close them!) and that fantastic spotlight and I'm just in heaven. Such whimsy!

  4. Great article about Mie.
    If you research on her parents ... you will find, they were both excellent swimmers. Father OL silver in 200 butterfly... From Denmark with love. Just waiting for OL...

  5. And if you wonder "where" Mie come from then compare her last name to the finalists in the men's 200 fly at the 1988 Olympics ;)