Britta Steffen

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Britta Steffen swim
Britta Steffen medal.jpg

Steffen at the 2009 Swimming World Championships

Personal information
Surname: Britta Steffen
Nation: GermanyGermany Germany
Swimming style (s) : Freestyle
Society: SG Neukölln Berlin
Birthday: November 16, 1983
Place of birth: Schwedt / Oder , GDRGermany Democratic Republic 1949GDR 
Size: 1.80 m
Weight: 60 kg
Medal table
Britta Steffen at the VOX “Eternal Heroes” press conference in December 2015.

Britta Steffen (born November 16, 1983 in Schwedt / Oder ) is a former German swimmer . During her career she won 23 medals at the Olympic Games as well as world and European championships , including two Olympic victories, two world championship titles and nine European championship titles.

Swimming career

Britta Steffen was double Olympic champion in the 50 and 100 meters freestyle in 2008, double world champion in 2009 and double European champion in 2006. From 2009 to 2017 she held the world record in 50 meters freestyle and also achieved several world records in relay competitions. She trained under Norbert Warnatzsch at SG Neukölln . She ended her swimming career in 2013.

First phase up to the 2004 Olympics

Britta Steffen began her swimming career at SSV PCK 90 in Schwedt. At twelve, she moved to Potsdam to the sports school . There she was promoted and shaped by trainer Mathias Pönisch in her youth. In 1998 and 1999, Steffen won various medal positions in various disciplines at youth championships on the German and European level. At the European junior championships alone, she achieved eight victories. At the German Championships in 2000 , she finished third in the 50 and 200 meter freestyle as the best of the year. She started at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney as a swimmer in the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay, which later won the bronze medal. She also finished fourth with the 4 x 100 meter freestyle team.

After the Olympics, Steffen got into a bad form. At the German Championships in 2001 and 2002 her performance stagnated, at the European Championships in 2002 she was again only a leading swimmer. After the European Championships, she moved to SG Neukölln in Berlin, where she found her old form. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens , Britta Steffen started on two routes, but without achieving the goals set. Disappointed, she gave up swimming in 2004 and began her studies. It wasn't until August 2005 that she started training again.

European Championships 2006

At the European Championships in Budapest in 2006 , she was a member of the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay with Petra Dallmann , Daniela Götz and Annika Liebs , which swam to gold in 3: 35.22 minutes and set a new world record. In this record, she swam her 100 meters in position 3 with a “flying” start in 52.66 seconds, the fastest time that a woman had swum over this distance up to then. Two days after the relay success, she also triumphed in the world record time of 53.30 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle final. Only 24 hours later she achieved a third big success with gold and a world record in the 4 x 200 meter freestyle competition in 7: 50.82 minutes, together with Petra Dallmann, Daniela Samulski and Annika Liebs.

On the last day of the competition, she also won the 50 meter freestyle in 24.72 seconds, equalizing the German record. Just an hour later, Steffen missed her fifth gold as the final swimmer of the 4 x 100 meter relay, despite a famous race to catch up, and came in second.

With a total of four gold medals and one silver medal, Britta Steffen was the most successful athlete at the 2006 European Swimming Championships. Britta Steffen achieved her successes in Budapest after a break of almost two years. For large parts of the international professional world, this performance explosion came as a surprise. A large number of doping tests in recent years did not reveal any evidence of manipulation.

World Championships 2007 and Olympic Games 2008

At the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne , Britta Steffen won bronze in the 100 meter freestyle in 53.74 seconds and missed her goal of gold. In contrast, she was able to fight for the silver medal with the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay. In addition, she started in the 50-meter freestyle, in the 4-by-100-meter relay and in the 4-by-100-meter relay. In all three races she could not win a medal.

At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing , she won the gold medal in the 100 meters freestyle in the new Olympic record time of 53.12 seconds. This was the first German swimming gold medal since Dagmar Hase's title at the 1992 Barcelona Games .

In addition, she won the gold medal over the 50-meter freestyle course in a time of 24.06 seconds with a lead of a hundredth of a second over Dara Torres . With her swim time she set a new Olympic record and a new European record. Both titles were also won with a swimsuit that was classified as "slow" in the professional world.

2009: world records and world championships

In June 2009 at the German Championships in Berlin, Steffen improved the world record for 100 meters freestyle previously held by Lisbeth Trickett twice, to 52.56 seconds in the end.

She swam her first title at the World Championships in Rome in another world record time of 52.07 seconds over 100 meters freestyle. Already in the qualification for the 4 x 100 meter freestyle, Steffen improved her own world record in the relay race as a starting swimmer to 52.22 seconds. The German quartet with the line-up (Steffen, Samulski , Dallmann , Schreiber ) took second place (3: 31.82 minutes) behind the world record (3: 31.72 minutes) swimming Dutch women. The German team also stayed well below the previous world record (3: 33.62 min). Britta Steffen won her third medal with the relay over 4 × 100 m individual medley, in which she finished third behind the relays from China and Australia together with Daniela Samulski , Sarah Poewe and Annika Mehlhorn .

On the final day of the competitions, Britta Steffen was also successful in the 50 meter freestyle. She won in a new world record time of 23.73 seconds ahead of Therese Alshammar and the simultaneous Cate Campbell and Marleen Veldhuis .

2011–2012: World Championships, European Championships and Olympic Games

During the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai , Steffen, the defending champion in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle course, said after a disappointing 16th place in the heats for the 100 meter freestyle and a slow individual time in the 100 meter Freestyle relay from all further starts.

At the European Championships in 2012 , Steffen said he was swimming out of training for the 2012 Olympics. She won gold in the 50 meter freestyle, with the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay and the 4 x 100 meter medley relay, as well as silver in the 100 meter freestyle.

At the Olympic Games in London in 2012 , Steffen - like all other German pool swimmers - was unable to build on previous successes and remained medalless. In the relays over 4 times 100 meters freestyle and 4 times 100 meters medley, she and her teammates were eliminated as ninth in the preliminary run. In the 100 meter freestyle, where she had won gold in 2008, she finished 15th with 54.42 seconds, which was enough to make it to the semi-finals. There she was able to improve to 54.18 s, but this only resulted in a 12th place, with which she was eliminated. In the 50 meter freestyle, where she also swam to gold in 2008, she was also able to continuously improve, but missed a medal when she reached 4th place in the final with 24.46 seconds. This placement was the best among all German swimmers.

In 2013, she ended her career after she had already stated in 2011 that the effort to win the title was getting bigger and bigger and a placement beyond the top five “did not justify the hard training”.


World records (1)
50 m freestyle 0: 23.73 min August 2, 2009 Rome
European records (2)
100 m freestyle 0: 52.07 min July 31, 2009 Rome
4 × 100 m layers (with Samulski , Poewe and Mehlhorn ) 3: 55.79 min August 1, 2009 Rome
German Records (5)
4 × 100 m freestyle (with Samulski , Dallmann and Schreiber ) 3: 31.82 min July 26, 2009 Rome
4 × 200 m freestyle (with Dallmann , Samulski and Annika Liebs ) 7: 50.82 min August 3, 2006 Budapest
100 m freestyle (short course) 0: 51.74 min November 21, 2009 Hanover
4 × 50 m freestyle (short course) (with Brandt , Dallmann and Freitag ) 1: 37.55 min December 14, 2007 Debrecen
4 × 50 m layers (short course) (with Schäfer , Mehlhorn and Pietsch ) 1: 46.67 min December 15, 2007 Debrecen



In parallel to her swimming career, Steffen studied industrial engineering for the environment and sustainability at the Berlin School of Economics and Law and at the Beuth University of Technology Berlin until she graduated in 2012 . She then studied human resources management with a focus on controlling and did her master's degree in March 2017. In 2015 she founded a coaching company with two partners.

Between 2010 and 2015 Steffen was in a relationship with swimmer Paul Biedermann . Since then she has had a relationship with cameraman Lorenz Ackermann, with whom she had a son in 2017.

Steffen lives in Berlin-Pankow .


Britta Steffen became known for giving away medals several times, most recently to the German hall speaker Kai Steinbrunn in Debrecen at the European Championships in 2012.

In February 2016, Steffen took part in the show Ewige Helden on the TV channel VOX with other former world-class athletes .


Web links

Commons : Britta Steffen  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Britta Steffen ends her swimming career., September 27, 2013.
  2. Britta Steffen wins Olympic gold . In: Kölnische Rundschau , August 15, 2008
  3. Carsten Eberts: The big riddle about Britta Steffen., July 28, 2011, accessed on July 28, 2011.
  4. Britta Steffen wins gold twice at the end., May 27, 2012.
  5. a b What is actually ... Britta Steffen?, June 26, 2017.
  6. Awards, stars and starlets: Goldene Henne 2008.
  7. ^ Sparkasse Prize 2010 for Britta Steffen ( memento from January 1, 2011 in the Internet Archive ),
  8. Yoga instead of Swimming World Championships: The New Life of Britta Steffen, July 28, 2015.
  9. Britta Steffen and Paul Biedermann are a couple., March 31, 2010.
  10. Your baby is here., September 6, 2017.
  11. Steffen gives medal to German hall speaker., March 23, 2012.