By Oene Rusticus
ALPHEN a/d RIJN, THE NETHERLANDS, Dec. 9. AFTER a strong second day at the Dutch nationals, the final day was a bit of a bummer.
Almost all of the swimmers who will compete at the European Championships next week in Antwerp skipped the competition on Sunday. The major exceptions was Hinkelien Schreuder. In preparation for Antwerp, the number 8 finisher in the 50m backstroke at Fukuoka made finals in almost all her events.
Chantal Groot, the only female swimmer from Top Swimming Amsterdam, concluded a successful weekend with gold in both 50m fly and 100m freestyle. The 50m fly saw a pretty close finish, as Groot's 27.38 was just ahead of the 27.90 by Hinkelien Schreuder. Groot's second half of her 100m freestyle was especially convincing: after splitting 27.48, she swam home in 55.81.
Schreuder's former teammate, Ilse Kevelham, who joined PSV this year to increase her training, was rewarded with a win in the 400m IM (4.51.06).
The surprise winner of the women's 200m backstroke was Mariet Koster (2.15.60), who passed Lenneke van Schaik, 15, in the final few meters. Van Schaik was second in 2.15.85.
Nienke Valen won the 50m breaststroke in 32.50, a good preparation for her performance next week.
Ewout Holst won the 50m fly for men. His 24.26 was good enough for gold, but the Fukuoka finalist will have to be a good second faster in Antwerp if he wants to medal there.
Johan Kenkhuis scratched the final of the 100m freestyle after leading the prelims with 49.60. Jeroen v/d Berkt, winner of the 100m breaststroke yesterday, took advantage of his absence to win in 50.03, in a final without a single member of the silver medal-winning 4x100m freestyle from Fukuoka.
The only man to swim sub-29 for the 50m breaststroke was Guido Jansen. His 28.99 was a good warm up for next week, when he'll swim on the medley relay.
A tough fight between member of the Philips' Klaas Erik Zwering and Sander Ganzevles, who recently joined the pro swim team of Amsterdam, was expected in the 200m backstroke, but things can change. Zwering led from the start with his strong underwater dolphin kick. After 150 meters, he was swimming well below the national record held by Marcel Wouda, but in the final length he faded and wound up more than a second slower than Wouda's mark. Still, his 1:57.45 was excellent, and he finished several meters ahead of Ganzevles (1:59.87).