15 June 2018
Double Dutch Gold and Silver for Hendrik at Dutch Nationals
Hendrik van der Leest is in The Netherlands this week where Dutch swimmers, from as far afield as Brazil, fly in to compete at the Dutch National Championships.
Hendrik, who has qualified for all 11 events, will be competing in the 2 group Junior 2 category (Junioren 2 group).
With the following quick translation of events, you can follow Hendrik’s progress through the link below.
The Dutch National Swimming Champs LC are once again held in Eindhoven though this year with a change to the programme: no 50 finals for fly, back and breaststroke in order to relieve an otherwise congested programme.
Hendrik qualified for 11 events and entered for 9 with main focus on 100, 200 back as well as IM.
In day one Hendrik competed in 100 fly, 200 back and 400 free style. Fly is heavily competed with narrow margins and with a strong start Hendrik positioned himself well. In a mad dash to the finish, Hendrik just ended up outside a podium position in 4th place. A good PB and swimming for the first time under 1:03 with and end time of 1:02.84.
Within an hour of completing the 100 fly, Hendrik had to line up for 200m back. Being first seed, the pressure was apparent from the start, and far from being a fluent swim, he stayed with the race leader till 150 after which Hendrik pulled away strongly and secured the Dutch 200 back championship with a new PB of 2:15.47 and with an impressive winning margin of 5 seconds. Hendrik now holds both the 200m LC and SC Dutch National titles. His team mate Hessel finished 3rd, with second place going to Bram.
The final swim of the day was 400 free style. Unfortunately, a gutsy start combined with two hard fought earlier events, took their toll and whilst still delivering yet another PB, Hendrik’s final time of 4:32.44 resulted in 9th place overall just before his other team mate Kai.
Overall a great start to the championships with two more full days to follow.
Three more races on Day 2 with 200 IM, 100 free and 200 free, split between the morning and afternoon session.
First race of the day was 200 IM, a much favoured but also difficult event with strong competition from Brazil as well as native Holland. Hendrik opened strongly on fly with a split of 28sec, followed by another positive 50m back, with the aim to create a gap in order to create a much needed breathing space for the 50m breast predicted onslaught from Stefan ( Brazil Dutch ) and Simon. However, a 1 second lead after 100m was not enough to consolidate a top 2 position but with damage limitation being a priority, Hendrik created enough of a gap to end third in a super final 50m free and claim his second medal, bronze, with a time just above his recent PB at 2:20.28.
The IM was followed by 100m free, where Hendrik was 9th seeded with a time of 58.3s. However, with little pressure there was all to swim for and from the start Hendrik moved up the pack and with an opener of 27 and a second 30 lap, he finished 5th with time of 57.75 which was a strong Pb. His team mate Kai pushed to a podium finish with 56.72.
Final race of the day was 200 free style with less than 1.5 seconds between the top 5 seeded swimmers. Hendrik faced strong competition and the pace was set quickly with opening times of low 27s at 50m and low 59s at 100m. At the halfway point Hendrik was in 7th position and with input from Mark, started his fight back in the 3rd section. At the final turn he was 6th placed and with a super strong finish he was 0.28 short of the podium and ended 4th with yet another PB 2:04.58 ( the winning time being a super fast 2:01.92).
Final day of swimming on Sunday with 3 more races to follow. More sleep and food needed to recharge.
Final day, three more distances in 200 fly, 50 free and 100 backstroke. After a 730am warm up , the first race was 200 fly with a 9.00am start. Being 2nd seeded with a 6 second deficit on the number one Stefan de Freitas – Steverink, Hendrik decided that attack was the best form of defence and lead from the start with an opener in 29 after 50m, 1:04 after 100m and 1:42 at the 150m turn. At this stage he still had a positive 1 second margin and there was a growing belief that Hendrik could pull this one off. However, Stefan had different ideas and with a Herculean effort he beat Hendrik with a narrow margin of 0.48. In the process, Hendrik improved his PB by over 4 seconds with a final time of 2:19.08 and good for another silver medal.
The second event, 50m free, was barely two hours later and with a 3rd seeded time all was to swim for. Hendrik was positioned next to the race leader Simon and still in a positive mindset from the earlier race. With a very good start he was in contention from the early meters and was giving little way to Simon who was the only swimmer with a 25s entry time. Following a mad dash to the finish, it looked very close at 35m but eventually Simon pulled away and won the race. Hendrik secured second place with another PB at 26.03 just above his target time of 25.9
The final event of the day was the 100 backstroke where he was first seeded but again with very tight margins in the top 5 swimmers. Hendrik’s game plan was to stay with the fastest 50m swimmer and then pull away after the turn. He had a blistering start with a reaction time of 0.54 and with a strong underwater phase, was suddenly in joint lead with Luuk. Hendrik turned first and with the home straight in sight, he pulled steadily away from his nearest competitor and with a closing lap of 32s he achieved his long awaited 1:02.72 finish, once again improving his most recent PB. His team mate Hessel finished in 3rd position.
In summary a very busy 3 days of racing; competed in 9 events, resulting in 8 PBs, 2x Gold, 2x Silver and 1x Bronze earning him an overall 3rd seeding in the Dutch Championship Arena League. A few more weeks training and Sheffield awaits.
A big thank you to the WSC trainers as well as the joint Dutch trainers who coach Hendrik as one of their own full squad members.