We at Aqua free are absolutely delighted to get to chat to Jacob Heidtmann.
About him: a swimmer, exceptional talent and Young Rebel.

Sponsorship for Jacob Heidtmann 

Olympian athlete for Tokyo 2021

On The Road to Gold.

Jacob Heidtmann was German champion three times in a row (2015, 2016 and 2017) and won gold at the European Championships in Glasgow in 2018. 26 years young, he is currrently training for the 2021 Olympic Games. His goal: to bring back gold. 

Jacob at the preparations for Tokyo 2021  ©: Jo Kleindl

Jacob is a high performer. Using the hastag #efficiency he wrote: "It doesn't matter how many hours you do something; what matters is what you do in those hours".

His disciplines are middle distance freestyle competitions and individual medley.


Training preparations, training goals and what's important in these difficult times.


We asked the swimmer how he can best sharpen his mindset for Tokyo 2021. We also found out what is common etiquette in Japan and what is better not to do.

Aqua free: What does your everyday life look like - what are you currently doing to prepare for the Olympics?

Jacob Heidtmann: "It's finally getting into the hot phase! The qualification is finally over and now the fine tuning begins. This means that we are working on many small details, such as race tactics or technical aspects, in order to get the final tenths of a second. Most of the work is done, which does not mean that I can rest now. On the contrary, this is the phase that will decide how far up it can go, so it's very exciting!"

AF: Have you already worked out a good mindset to be optimally positioned for your competitions in Tokyo 2021?

JH: "Parallel to my form in the water, my head must of course also be well prepared for the challenges. Together with my psychologist but also with my coach or my training group, we get in the mood for the competitions and look forward to chasing the placings."

AF: Take us with you, you must have already dealt with Japan and the country-specific customs. What do you do and don't do better in Japan?

JH: "Thanks to swimming, I've been able to be in Japan twice now. At the World Cup in Tokyo 2018, we were already able to test how good the sushi really tastes. And we were not disappointed. The karaoke bar on the last evening of the competitions also brought me a little closer to Japanese culture. Before the 2019 World Cup in South Korea, we spent our preparation training camp in Kumamoto, Japan, where we will also go again before the Olympic Games.

Rarely in my life have I experienced such polite, humble but also proud people as I did there. We were invited to a local football match of the third Japanese league, where the FC St. Pauli logo (Hamburg football club) was directly recognised on my T-shirt, because FC St. Pauli also has a Japanese player under contract. That was a unique experience! Due to the quarantine measures this year, we probably won't be able to visit our favourite ramen restaurant from back then. But hopefully the hotel kitchen will whip up some ramen for us from time to time. Because that's also a super option for me as a vegetarian to enjoy the country's cuisine!"

Japan has different customs than ours. I'll give you a little insight into the country-specific customs here:

Japan: How To


  • Be humble: For example, if someone says you are very good at something or did something well, the response is "No, it wasn't that good". In Japan, people always reject compliments.
  • Slurping while eating is considered a no-go in Germany. In Japan, on the other hand, it signals to the cook that the food really tasted very good. A plus: this way you experience the full taste.
  • It is good manners to regularly give small gifts to business partners. The packaging should look impeccable at all costs, and the colours white and black should be avoided, as these are associated with death.


  • Business cards are considered a sign of respect in Japan. Therefore: do not write on it (do not make notes on it) and do not pocket it immediately (this would otherwise signal that you do not consider the other person important). It is best to leave the card in front of you for a while or simply hold it in your hand. Receiving the card is done with a slight bow and is best held in both hands.
  • Ramen are Japanese noodles. When eating, be careful not to insert the chopsticks vertically into the food. This is reserved for offerings to the dead. Completely different culture than in Europe: the Japanese tend not to eat on the street or in public transport.
  • Taxi drivers, waiters and room service: in Japan you don't tip (as this is included in the price). Since the Japanese are an honest people, they like to run after a guest with the tip left.

(Even though these are the typical Japanese rules, I always act according to my own values and intuitively in every situation).

#sponsorship #csr #Olympia #Japan

Have fun! A good training and an optimal preparation on the home stretch!