By Oene Rusticus
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, April 15. CHANTAL Groot succeeded in her final attempt to qualify for an individual start in Athens during the first day of the Dutch Nationals, which began in Amsterdam today.
She ranks third in The Netherlands in both the 50 and 100 meter freestyle behind both Inge de Bruijn and Marleen Veldhuis, but there still was an open spot in the 100 butterfly.
Groot and Inge Dekker battled for that last spot. Dekker qualified first in prelims in 59.85. During the final, Dekker again turned first in 28.05 but had to give the last few meters to Groot who finished just ahead of her, 1:00.18 to 1:00.24. Groot swam 59.58 in Barcelona last summer. Based on that time she takes the second spot in the team for Athens behind Inky DeBruijn, who qualified two weeks ago.
After the IOC refused to include an open water event in the Olympics, 25km World Champion Edith van Dijk tried to make the team in the 800 freestyle. But with only a few months preparation in a swimming pool, she failed to make the cut. After clocking a personal best of 8:50.80, Van Dijk decided to return to the Open Water arena to compete at the Europeans in Madrid next month and the World Open Water Championships in November.
The first day of the Dutch Nationals showed no other serious attempts to make the qualification cut for Athens, but there were several nice races. Stefan Aartsen battled with Bastiaan Tamminga for the title on the 100 butterfly. Tamminga led halfway but Aartsen, specialist a 200 fly specialist, had a stronger back half and won in 54.75.
Robin van Aggele cruised to 4:25.40 in the 400 IM, far ahead of the rest of the field. Tamar Bakker won the women's 400 IM in 5:04.59.
Maarten van der Weijden easily won the 800 freestyle in 8:23.49, over 22 seconds faster than the rest of the field. Rieneke Schinkel (2:17.13) and Sander Ganzevles (2:02.23) grabbed the gold in the 200 backstroke.