The new situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was very tough on individual sports. This period is highly challenging for swimmers who were forced to pause their training due to the closure of swimming pools and to find other ways to stay in shape.

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One of the swimmers who was forced to pause with the trainings was Eva Baramcheva from Skopje, the capital od North Macedonia, who at the beginning of this year returned to active swimming after a pause of three years. But her efforts to return to shape lasted only three months.

Photography and text: Arbnora Memeti

Closure of swimming pools

From the moment the swimming pools were closed in March, Eva had a brief break with her training sessions and with the help of her trainer Aleksandar Malenko she tried to find a way to stay in shape.

Training Preparations, Eva Baramcheva | Photo : Arbnora Memeti

Dry swimming exercises

After 11 days of forced break from swimming, they found a solution. Eva returned to swimming, only this time the sessions took place at her home, in a 2x2m swimming pool in her backyard. Firstly, she is doing dry swimming exercises and then with the help of elastic rope, due to the limited space, she swims stationary

Training Preparations, Eva Baramcheva | Photo : Arbnora Memeti

In any weather condition

For around 100 days, Eva was training in all kinds of weather conditions – wind, rain and even snow, during the unexpected snowfalls in April.

Training Preparation, Eva Baramcheva | Photo : Arbnora Memeti

It’s hard to get used to it

Eva Baramcheva’s Training Session | Photo : Arbnora Memeti

During her talk with, Ema said that at the beginning she found it difficult to adjust to the new “normal”, but at the same time she is happy with the solution to her problem

Eva in her 2x2m backyard pool | Photo: Arbnora Memeti

And then everything was OK

“It was strange in the beginning and it was hard to get use to this small space. I swam in rain and snow, but I was happy because with the coach we found a solution, even though it took us ten days to come up with it. And then everything was OK,” said Eva, laughingly.

Eva Baramcheva’s Training Session | Photo : Arbnora Memeti

The backyard pool saves the day

She also reminds that she took a three year-break with swimming. “I began swimming at the beginning of January with my coach and I think if we didn’t find this solution, I wouldn’t be able to swim and return into shape for competitions” said Eva Baramcheva

Eva in her backyard pool | Photo : Arbnora Memeti

Persistence pays off

Her coach was persistent in persuading her to keep exercising, despite the difficulties that they have been facing in this period

Eva in her backyard pool where she was exercising for the past 100 days to stay in shape | Photo : Arbnora Memeti

At the crossroads

“From the moment the pandemic happened, we found ourselves literally at the crossroads, since no break in the training sessions is allowed to happen” said Aleksandar Malenko.

Eva in her backyard pool | Photo : Arbnora Memeti

It is too difficult, but the effort was worth it

He says that swimming in a pool such as this – with an elastic rope – is very difficult!

Eva Baramcheva with her coach Aleksandar Malenko | Photo : Arbnora Memeti

Back to the old swimming pool, but with a new protocol

After three months swimming in the backyard pool, Eva and the other swimmers returned to the standard swimming pools and are adapting to the new protocols.

Eva in her backyard pool | Photo : Arbnora Memeti

It’s better than practicing at home

“I’m very happy to return to regular training sessions, there are new protocols, we are wearing masks before each training, but it is better than practicing at home” concludes Eva.

Eva before the start of the training | Photo : Arbnora Memeti