By Oene Rusticus
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, December 22. THE Dutch Short Course Nationals, held last week, marked the end of the glorious career of Edith van Dijk, Swimming World Magazine’s Open Water swimmer of the Year. Even in her final 1,500-meter freestyle, with 59 turns she dislikes so much, the 32-year-old managed to produce her personal-best time, a winning effort of 16:54.09. After a standing ovation, she received the Royal Decoration in the Order of Orange-Nassau.
Several National records were broken in Amsterdam. Hinkelien Schreuder set two, cracking the barriers in the 100 (59.63) and 200 backstroke (2:10.29) events. With a swim of 2:12.85, she just missed the 15-year-old national record in the 200 individual medley by .13.
Ranomi Kromowidjojo, a 15-year-old, set two new youth records, clocking 25.34 and 55.61 in the 50 and 100 freestyles. Both titles were won by Marleen Veldhuis, the European short course champion in these events. One of the most impressive swims of the weekend was the 100 butterfly of Inge Dekker. Several body lengths ahead of the rest of the field, she finished in 58.05, a time which would have made her the fastest woman of Europe one week ago in Trieste, Italy.
Dekker also won the 200 freestyle in 1:56.86, ahead of Linda Bank (1:58.85), as both qualified for the World Short Course Championships in Shanghai in the event. Bank did win the 400 (4:12.52) and 800 (8:47.94) freestyles in personal best times.
The most impressive male swimmer was Robin van Aggele with five victories, including the 200 freestyle (1:46.70) and the 200 IM (1:59.20) in personal-best times. Mitja Zastrow promised a national record in the 100 backstroke, after failing to qualify for this event in Trieste. He kept his word, edging the mark by .01 to 53.50.
Another youth record was posted in the 1,500 freestyle by Sebastiaan Verschuren (15:22.77). Bastiaan Tamminga won three events, the 50 (23.59) and 100 butterfly (52.75) and the 50 backstroke (25.13).
The Dutch team for the World Short Course Championships in Shanghai will be announced shortly. One week after Shanghai, the long course season starts with the Amsterdam Swim Cup as one of the qualifying meets for the European Championships in 2006 in Budapest.