Oliwia Zalewska – Gold Medalist, A Mom and USA Bound

Oliwia Zalewska with her latest gold medal

Anyone who was following the recent European Championships saw the ladies division in the final discipline (9-Ball) was won by Poland’s Oliwia Zalewska. Like all of the European players, Zalewska was away from the game during Covid. Different than most other players though, was what she was doing with her time away from the game. 

“I had a problem with my hip and I couldn’t make proper position with the table” she stated. “I had to go to a physical therapist, but that didn’t help”. Then came the good news: Oliwia found out that she and her husband were pregnant with their first child who born on September 9th of 2020.  “When I gave birth to Antoni, the pain in my hip stopped” she beamed.

Zalewska’s first tournament after Covid was the 2021 Polish Championships. Leading up to the event, she and her husband both caught Covid. She then questioned whether she wanted to continue with competition. “For sure it was a test for us, how we will manage the whole logistics with a toddler and sleepless nights – we were checking if pool can be part of our lives, how hard it would be. I won gold, silver and bronze medals,” she declared, “Which resulted in our decision to keep fighting for pool.”

Zalewska soon made another change that benefited her game. “Few weeks after the Polish Championships, I started cooperation with Mezz which had a positive impact on my motivation for practicing. I had everything needed to further work – a supportive environment and great pool equipment”

With Zalewska and her husband building their family, it was that same feeling of family that brought Zalewska to Mezz. “Miki and Juri (who manages MEZZ in Europe) are people with vision. They are creating something bigger than just a firm. The way they do they are helping players. By the cooperation they are giving the chance to grow and develop skills. Nowadays it’s very hard to find people who will care for you and treat you with respect. The moment I started partnership with Mezz I felt as I was a part of big team. This is like family and each member is supporting each other and noticing each other. This is the most important part for me to feel this connection between fellows.”

For the first time in her career, Zalewska is now working with a coach. “When I started to play pool, it was because my Dad wanted me to play. Everything I learned in the first five years was his knowledge. With so many years without a proper coach, all based on intuition, we realized that it was a very good moment to do that. We started cooperation with Piotr Kudlick. He was the best option. He is living in the same city as we are living in now. We started working together on my weaknesses. I am very hopeful and I am seeing that my level is really going up now.“

That coaching has obviously helped Zalewska as she took home a Gold and a Bronze medal from the European Championships last week. It was Zalewska’s third career Gold Medal.

Zalewska is now making plans for her next big goal, as she has qualified to represent Poland at the upcoming World Games. This will be Zalewska’s first trip to the States and she is excited about this opportunity. “Mostly the goal this year is World Games. Everything I do right now is just to make my level good and to be happy with my game. World games is a big chance, and I can’t wait.”

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