First and Last Name: Frederik Jan Vogel.

Age/Pronouns: 25 (He/Him).

Hometown: Altena, Westfalia, Germany.

Current Residence: Aachen/Cologne, Germany

Current Sport(s) Played: Swimming, Triathlon.

Favorite Team: SC Janus Köln.

Interests/Hobbies: Technology, machine learning, image processing, swimming, and learning new things.

What’s your personal story?  Tell us something about you, what interactions you have had with the sports community, LGBTQ+ community, etc.
When my ex and I were looking for sports to do together we joined the SC Janus swimming team and I quickly felt like this was my way to go. As the pandemic started winding down, we started doing more competitions and I’ve been working on encouraging other swimmers from SC Janus to do competitions with me. I found that I really enjoyed it and started setting some lofty swimming goals for myself. I recently swam at the 2021 EuroGames in Copenhagen, the 2022 EuroGames in Nijmegen and the 2022 Valentines Tournament in Amsterdam. At those events I met a lot of great swimmers and new friends, made a lot of connections with the community and learned a lot about myself as an athlete and a gay man.

How are you currently involved in the LGBTQ+ sports community?

After swimming for a few years at SC Janus I became a coach as well, fulfilling both roles. I am working with Dirk Smith (Compete’s Sports Editor) on building the performance group with SC Janus to train and compete at LGBTQ+ sports events all over Europe and the world, including IGLA 2023 in London, EuroGames 2023 in Bern and the Gay Games in either Hong Kong or Guadalajara.

If given the chance, what would you tell/teach your younger self? And/or is there anything you hope to teach the younger generation that may be looking up to you?
No matter how ambitious you are, change takes time and patience is a virtue. Take your time and stick to your plan. Going to a tournament? CHILL! This is mostly about benchmarking yourself. Don’t give any f**ks about what the other swimmers are doing, this is about you against yourself only.

What are your future goals? 

Becoming more competitive as an individual and as a team member. Crossing the magical one-minute mark for the 100m free. Competing at my first Gay Games in November, 2023.

What does Sports Diversity mean to you?

We perform at our best when we can be ourselves. We should strive to constantly push ourselves to perform better and discover new limits to our own capabilities. To do this, we must be true to ourselves and stand against anything that wants us to be something we’re not. Only when we can accept ourselves and be in an environment that empowers our authenticity can we challenge the limits of our own capabilities and performance. Surrounding yourself with a team of people who will love you for who you are, lift you up and push you further than you ever thought possible will ensure you can perform at and be the best of who you are.

Please feel free to include any additional pertinent information you think would be of interest to Compete readers. Readers want to know your real story to connect with you – this isn’t the time to be shy!

With my roots in electrical engineering, being gay was not always easy. Although a university per se is a diverse place, the entire realm of engineering is somewhat dominated by ideals of masculinity (despite slow change over the last 5-10 years). Finding a place where I felt just about right was always a challenge for me as social interactions are not the easiest for me. I am often perceived as “the nerd,” “the awkward one,” “the geek” whilst my scholarly performance could be described as mediocre, so it’s been a challenge to overcome in finding my own place within the engineering community, but I am on my way.