By Phillip Whitten
BEAVERTON, Oregon, December 11. SHE didn't swim at the European Championships last summer, claiming she was not fit enough (though earlier she had swum some very fast times). And she didn't enter any major meets later in the year. The last we heard of her, she had split with her club in Holland and her longtime coach and boyfriend, Jacco Verhaeren.
There were whispers: "Inky's gone. Her career is over."
Guess again, baby! Inge de Bruijn — Swimming World's female Swimmer of the Year in 2000 and 2001, and triple Olympic gold medalist, is alive and kicking … and stroking, and swimming, in Oregon, where she continues to train under Tualatin Hills coach, Paul Bergen.
Last weekend, Inky demonstrated she's still got a few fast laps left in that ancient 29 year-old body. Swimming unshaved and untapered at the Tualatin Hills short course meters meet, the Dutch national hero clocked times among the fastest in the world this year in four events:
24.20 for the 50m free
53.19 for the 100m free
25.79 for the 50m fly
57.60 for the 100m fly
Make no mistake about it. Inky is back!!