Poland's Malwina Smarzek concluded her 2019 VNL stint scoring 32 points against Brazil
Nanjing, China, July 4, 2019 – Poland’s Malwina Smarzek is 1.91 metres tall and has a hammer of an arm when she spikes the ball, but behind that intimidating presence is a gentle and sensitive person.
Smarzek has caught everyone’s attention scoring 30+ points on seven occasions at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. She scored 361 points last year, but broke that record by the end of this year’s preliminary round when she already 365 points to her name.
Smarzek went on to log double-digit performances in her team's two matches in the final round, scoring 23 points against defending champions United States and recording 32 against Brazil.
“The past five weeks has been great,” Smarzek said. “When we started this season, we said that if we reached the final round then it would all be a different experience for us. We reached the final round and we were not complacent and we continued to fight.”
Smarzek embraces the responsibility as Poland’s go-to player, but the 23-year-old opposite admits that there is great pressure in her role as the main scorer.
“There is pressure because being consistent is such a difficult task,” she said. “There are days that I’m really good and it’s nice to receive compliments for it, but there are also days that I am off and sometimes I feel helpless when I cannot do anything about that.”
“To be perfect in every match is difficult and to spike a lot of balls knowing my opponents will focus their defence on me is more difficult. However, I’m happy that I’m good at it. It’s my job!”
Smarzek is expressive and her great personality is reflected in her tattoos. She has an elaborate sleeve tattoo on her right arm, which looks back to her childhood.
“This big tattoo is from a popular children’s book in Poland. My mother would always read this book to me when I was young. And then when I was about 18 or 19, I took this book with me and read it again. It has a very meaningful message and I felt that when I read it again as an adult. The other images are of a wolf and a rose.”
Before coming over to Nanjing, she spent some time at home preparing for a very special day – marrying the man of her dreams.
“I got married recently. We had eight days free and my coach said okay to get married if we get to the Final Six. I just needed one day to get married and it was great to spend these free days with my husband. I had to fit all of that in those eight days and then catch the flight here.”
“I am going to be busy after this because we still have the Olympic qualification tournament and the European Championships. After that I will play for my club. My husband has been very supportive of me in volleyball.
“Every time he is with me when I play during the club season, it’s nice to have him comfort me when I am having a bad day. It’s difficult to play in the national team because the players are always away from their loved ones.”
Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB.com - Volleyball Nations League
FIVB.com - Volleyball