Double Dutch backstroke records, 3 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze medals at Dutch Nationals.

Catherine Ferguson

2 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze and Dutch Record  for Hendrik on Day 1 & 2 of Dutch Nationals: 

DAY 1

The Dutch Junior Championships is the equivalent of the British champs and is the highlight of the Dutch long course season. The competition is stretched over 4 days, with the long-distance events being completed on Thursday afternoon and all other events on the 3 days following.

On Day 1 Hendrik had the prelims for 100 back and 200 IM in the morning. During the backstroke heats Hendrik was seeded first with his recent sub minute time and did not have to give up any position for the finals, where he positioned himself with 59.9 for a podium contention.

Less than 1 hour later he had entered for the 200 IM but now with a top 3 seeding. His race plan worked out well with a strong focus on the breast element which, for the first time, he completed in 39.2 overall resulting in a new pb of 2:15.04.

Late afternoon saw the finals for both races. After dealing with starting block ledge issues, Hendrik maintained a good start and turned second after Luuk van Rooij but after the turn Hendrik turned up the speed and won the race with another sub one minute time: 59.8s. His team mate Hessel finished 3rd.

The final for the IM followed quickly and, being first seeded, the pressure was on once again with Stefan de Freitas Steverink and Simon Claasen being the main competitors. From the start it was clear that Stefan meant business and after 100m was slightly ahead and disappeared quickly out of sight towards yet another fantastic Dutch record. Hendrik had to be content with 2nd place against Simon who is renowned for being the fastest 50m freestyler in the pack, hence breaststroke was key to maintain his lead. Following a Herculean effort of breast and free, Hendrik finished in 2:13.5 in second place with a new pb of just under 3 seconds.

Gold and silver - A good start to day 1 of racing with more to follow on Saturday and Sunday.

DAY 2 - Hendrik breaks Dutch National Record 50m backstroke 


Day 2 of the Dutch Champs consisted of a packed morning programme with 100 fly prelims, 50 back finals and 50 freestyle prelims. The first two races were taking place within 15 minutes and therefore required a clear game plan.

As a result Hendrik managed the 100 fly and swam comfortably into the finals with a time of 1:04. If anything a solid second warm up for the 50 back stroke finals where he was second seeded after Luuk van Rooij who has performed strongly in the champs so far. Using the backstroke ledgers to his advantage, Hendrik had a very strong start and started to create distance between himself, Luuk and Hessel Broekstra ( the latter being his team mate ) from the start. With a super back end, he ended first placed with a new Dutch National Record at 28.12s. 

Next up 50 freestyle heats with a 3rd seeding. This splash-and-dash makes no allowances for any mistakes and the game plan was to get a good position in the finals for late afternoon in heat 6 of 9 where all but one competitor had preceded Hendrik. A relatively slow start resulted in Hendrik having to make up some ground but just just after the half way point he was back in the pack and finished with a heat time of 25.25s ( just above his PB). He maintained 3rd seeding for the finals.

Following a 4 hour break racing commenced back at 16.30 with 3 races: finals for 100 fly, finals for 50 free as well as finals for medley relay.

100 Fly: with a “managed” slow entry time of 1:04 Hendrik was not regarded as one of the contenders which probably worked well as in lane 1 on the outside he could swim his own race. He set out on a high pace and turned second on 27.47 which suddenly put him into contention. however the fast opening did take its toll slightly on the last 20m and he had to settle for a 3rd place in a new PB of 59.45s thereby taking nearly 1.5s of his recent regional pb.

50 Free style: this race turned out to be interesting when the usual big guns where outgunned. Hendrik’s aim was to go sub 25 for the first time and was long in contention for the top spot but eventually had to settle for 3rd but mission completed with another new pb of 24.87s. The winning time being .62

The medley relay was the final event of the day with a new team swimmer Vito Kuperus replacing the injured Kai Zwerver. The final team now consisting of Hessel Broekstra (fly), David da Silva Miranda (breast), Vito Kuperus (free) and Hendrik (back). For a small swimming club, the team still manage to qualify for the A finals with a time of 4:24.01. (10 seeded)

Hendrik opened with the backstroke and set a new pb in the process with 59.48s. David (2005) followed with a solid breaststroke of 1:17. Hessel had the fly honour and wrestled it to the ground successfully with a time of 1:04 but the swim of the team had to Vito’s first appearance at the Nationals where he swam his lungs out with a massive new pb at 1:00.82! Out of 17 teams, they collectively achieved a very respectable overall 8th position.

Day two finished - a new Dutch record on 50 back and two bronze medals added. One more day to go ....

DAY 3

Hendrik breaks 15 yr age group 200m backstroke, 11 year long standing record. 

Final day of the NJJK with two more races planned: 100 free prelims and 200 backstroke.

Hendrik was well seeded for the 100 free style but this was not reflected in the race itself where he added significantly to his recent PB and ended up being seeded 8th for the finals. With just over an hour to go to the backstroke finals this may have worked to his advantage.

With a clear race plan for the 200m backstroke the end result was now purely reliant on the execution. Hendrik expected to be leading the race from the early beginnings and this was indeed the case from 25m onwards and he built his lead to over 5 seconds during the race. A fast 30s opening was followed by a 32s leading to a 1:02 at the halfway point. The 3rd fifty, the most difficult leg, was well driven to a 33s and with everything thrown at the last 50m, he finished on 2:07.77 which was nearly 1.5s faster than the current record from 2008, which was set by Sam van de Schootbrugge in Sheffield during the British Champs. This record was also a  PB which he only recently set during the Regionals.



One more final to prepare for in late afternoon, 100 Free style, but in the meantime rest up, food and re-charge.

Hendrik’s 8th seeding in the 100 was disappointing by his own standards and felt he had something more to give and indeed prove. Starting on the outside again he was not regarded as one of the contenders and he was planning to run is own race. The start was good and after 50m Hendrik turned second but was unable to consolidate his position on the return leg and had to settle for 5th in a new PB of 55.02s

After three days, Hendrik can look back on his most successful Dutch championships with  2 new Dutch National records, 3 gold medals, 1 silver,  2 bronze and an overall points tally of 13 which resulted in 2nd placing in the Arena points classification after his Brazilian-Dutch friend and competitor, Stefan de Freitas Steverink.
 

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