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Inside with Brett Hawke: Lenny Krayzelburg

Inside with Brett Hawke: Lenny Krayzelburg

Lenny Krayzelburg has led a life filled with gratitude and grit. Becoming known as one of the best backstroke swimmers in the world did not come easily— despite his undeniable talent. 

In this episode, Lenny and I get caught up on the work he’s doing with the International Swim League’s L.A Current. Hear the story of what shaped his early days as a swimmer, the challenges he and his family faced in his youth and their migration from the Soviet Union. And most importantly, hear how embodying his life’s motto: “if it’s gonna be, it’s up to me” has earned him 4 Olympic gold medals.


“I respect my competitors, I respect the history of the sport, I respect the coaches. I understood, I've seen people that worked just as hard, maybe as I have, but I was just a little more talented... I respected what they went through cause I knew what I went through. and how could you not respect people when they're pursuing their dreams and giving their best?" - Lenny Krayzelburg [43:00]

Key Takeaways:

  • How Lenny Krayzelburg is helping shape the future of swimming.
  • What his relationship with former competitor Aaron Peirsol was like.
  • The impact being an immigrant had on him as a person.
  • How he planned for life after swimming.

Episode Timeline:

  • 00:27 Impressions on the first year of the ISL with L.A current
  • [01:43] Why did he decide to get involved in the ISL
  • [04:10] Swim right academy- Water skills for kids
  • [06:57] Leaving the Soviet Union as a child
  • [10:58] Learning from his family and their migration
  • [14:17] His college start and developing confidence as a swimmer
  • [20:41] Getting a full-ride scholarship to USC
  • [23:48] Focusing on the goal
  • [25:20] His USC timeline
  • [27:44] Making it to the world stage
  • [31:03] The experience of earning first gold medal
  • [37:34] Learning from mistakes
  • [39:42] What becoming an Olympic champion felt like 
  • [41:36] Gratitude and respect in the game
  • [43:51] Summarizing his career and regrets
  • [47:25] His relationship with Aaron Peirsol
  • [49:10] Plans for life after retirement
  • [52:37] Moving forward with the ISL
  • [53:39] Outro

Key Quotes:

  • “I've always been a really big advocate and believer that it all starts with fundamentals and if you have those down pat, everything else will take care of itself if you're willing to work hard, persevere and believe in yourself." - Lenny Krayzelburg [05:31] 
  • “The reason why we came here is for a better life and better opportunities and a better life and better opportunities only happen when you're willing to work hard and believe and appreciate everything you have around you." - Lenny Krayzelburg [09:24] 
  • "I live by a motto. If it's gonna be, it's up to me. I've always applied that and I learned that through all the perseverance and challenges I've encountered. Especially in the first few years in the United States." - Lenny Krayzelburg [10:27] 
  • “The first thing I remember is just no one will ever take this away from me." - Lenny Krayzelburg [40:52] 


Find | Brett Hawke


On Instagram @hawkebr

Find | Lenny Krayzelburg


On Instagram: @lennyk4g

On Twitter: @lennyk4g

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Special Thanks:

Inside with Brett Hawke is presented by Fitter & Faster. Host a swim camp. More than 1,000 swim clinic sessions in 46 States plus Canada & the Bahamas in 2019.

Inside with Brett Hawke is produced and promoted by Swimnerd. Connect your phone to your pace clock with the Swimnerd Pace Clock. Digital, affordable, and Bluetooth programmable from your smartphone.