Maiia Fedosieienko: The fire in their hearts still burns.

Submitted by karol@sportevo… on Tue, 04/18/2023 - 12:31
IRONMAN Poland talks with Maiia Fedosieienko, the youngest female IRONMAN finisher from Ukraine who completed 2021 Enea IRONMAN Gdynia and currently lives in Warsaw, Poland.

When did you start training for IRONMAN? What was you primary sport discipline as a kid - swimming, cycling, running?

I was engaged in professional swimming for 8 years, starting from the age of 5 and switched to triathlon when I was 14. I have focused mainly on triathlon since then which means I have been training for 6 years now.

In 2021, you finished Enea IRONMAN Gdynia just after you turned 18 and you became the youngest IRONMAN finisher from Ukraine ever. Was that the goal? What pushed you to become an IRONMAN in such a young age?

Yes, that was the goal. My teammate and part-time coach was also the youngest IRONMAN finisher in Ukraine. I just thought it was cool. Well, I wanted to show people that their limitations are only in their heads.


How do you recall the race in Gdynia? Any special memories?

The fact that, unfortunately, I could not get to the awards ceremony (laugh). But seriously... the people, the scenery, the stories of my friends. It was very cool, I really want to go to Gdynia and take a longer walk there. Last time I didn’t manage to do so.

You come from Ukraine but you are living in Warsaw now. How did this affect your training and how do you feel here in the first place?

It was very difficult for me to start training normally. For the most part, I miss Team404 and my family. I train alone here. In Ukraine, we gathered in a bigger group for training sessions. Usually around 10 people on working days  and even up to 30 people on weekends. So it looked like some kind of a cool party.

But Warsaw gave me the chance to train safely and I think I should be grateful for that and not miss this chance. So I started to train seriously.

We all know what is going on in Ukraine right now and keep our fingers crossed for this horrible war to terminate as soon as possible. Certainly, many Ukrainian athletes, also from your team, stayed in their country. Can you tell us if they still try to train somehow or this is the last thing on their priority list right now?

They keep on training. We even have some competitions in the safer parts of Ukraine. People are very serious about training, keeping track of vitamins, nutrition and so on. I don't think anything has changed in this area. Everyone is strong in spirit, the fire in their hearts still burns.


Getting back to you and your plans. What's next for the youngest Ukrainian IRONMAN finisher? Are you going to improve your results at IRONMAN 70.3 and IRONMAN or maybe you think of even longer distances or different sport challenges?

I'm not sure when I will do full distance again. Firstly, I'm going to improve at IRONMAN 70.3. I would like to fight for podium places so I want to be better prepared. I do not want to participate just for the sake of participation.

I really want to swim ultramarathon distances. For now, it’s not very likely due to financials but definitely I will do this at some point. In 2021 I already swam 25 km in open water. In 2022 I was planning to swim 30 km but then there was the invasion of our country.

You're also a coach. Tell us something more about it.

For about two years I worked as a coach in Team404, which I initially joined just to train. It was quite unexpected. They just asked me if I would like to become a coach and I agreed.

Currently in Poland I do not work as a coach. Honestly, I am not sure how everything works here, also from the legal point of view.  But surely I would love to go back to the side of the pool and teach swimming again.

So where can we see you racing in 2023?

I will be doing Citi Handlowy IRONMAN 70.3 Warsaw, for sure. Probably I’ll do a couple of other competitions in Poland but the full schedule is not ready yet.

Thanks for the talk. Wishing you good luck and surely see you in Warsaw!