GESTEL, The Netherlands, June 25. THE Queens University of Charlotte’s men’s swim team will get a major boost to their NCAA Division II program when Dutch Olympian Dion Dreesens steps onto campus after this summer’s European championships.
Dreesens sent the following Tweet on Monday to announce his impending move from Holland to the United States:
— Dion Dreesens (@DionDreesens) June 24, 2014
The 21-year-old Dreesens, who was 27th in the 200 free at the London Olympics, visited Charlotte earlier this year for a brief winter training camp on the advice of former Dutch national coach Jacco Verhaeren. He told Swimming World he was so impressed by the coaching staff and the athletes in the Team Elite squad that he wanted to come back after qualifying for the European championships, but could not secure a visa for the trip.
Dreesens will swim the 200 free and 800 free relay for the Netherlands at the European championships in Berlin, then board a plane immediately after the meet for Charlotte to begin taking classes at Queens University of Charlotte. He’ll make an immediate impact on the rapidly-improving team. He competed in his first short course yards meet in March, racing at the Speedo sectional championships in Charlotte. There, he posted times of 20.72 in the 50 free, 44.31 in the 100 free, 1:34.38 in the 200 free and 4:20.10 in the 500 free. His time in the 500 would have put him at the top of the medal podium at the NCAA Division II championships.
Though teammate Matthew Josa has the 200 free NCAA record with a 1:34.21 relay leadoff swim, that time could be in jeopardy when Dreesens takes to the blocks. The Dutchman would also be in the top eight in the 100 free and in scoring position for the 50 free. With the 200 free as his best event, he’ll be seen as a major cog in Queens’ 800 free relay that won by 1.5 seconds last season.
Dreesens said he plans to major in sports management, and likes the ability to earn a college degree and swim at a top level in the United States.
“I always wanted to combine sports and education,” he said. “Sports and education aren’t that well integrated in the Netherlands. Since I do want to end up with a degree and don’t see me beginning a study after 2016 or even 2020, this is a perfect solution to my problem.”
In long course, Dreesens will be looking to improve on his lifetime best of 1:47.61 in the 200 free when he races at the European championships.