Arno Kamminga Hits Speedy 58.4 / 2:08.0 in Unofficial Breaststroke Time Trials in Antwerp

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

24-year-old Arno Kamminga from the Netherlands has been on fire all-year long as he was expected to be a key player among the medalists in the 100 & 200 breaststroke at the Tokyo Olympic Games that were set to take place two weeks from now. But with the Olympics being move back a year, that gives every swimmer a chance to reset before chasing their Olympic dreams in 2021.

Kamminga has showed no ill effects from the COVID-19 pandemic that has hindered so many athletes around the world. In unofficial suited time trials at his training base in Antwerp, Kamminga swam a 58.4 in the 100 breaststroke and a 2:08 in the 200, which was right at his season best times in the early days of 2020.

Kamminga’s 100:

Kamminga’s 200:

Arno Kamminga has been a name on the rise in the last 12 months. He is coached by Mark Faber at the National Training Centre in Amsterdam and earlier this year became the third-fastest man over 100m breaststroke in history when he clocked 58.43 at the Antwerp Diamond Race.

Kamminga’s 100m best at 21 was 1:01.24 but now he sits only behind Adam Peaty – on a best of 56.88 – and Ilya Shymanovich (58.29) and ahead of James Wilby and Cameron van der Burgh (both with bests of 58.46).

He followed that up with a 2:07.18 blast over 200m to become the second-fastest European in history, bettered only by Russia’s Anton Chupkov, world champion and world record holder.

In an interview with Swimming World following his double Antwerp blast and before the postponement of Tokyo 2020 in March, Arno Kamminga underlined his commitment to longevity and was confident he could deal with whatever action was taken regarding the Games.

He said:

“I know I can swim fast and I know I can switch fast if I have to. Let’s see how others can handle and cope with maybe a cancellation or later in the year.”

While Arno Kamminga is open about missing competition and finding it difficult to spend so much time alone, he believes that now is a time of possibility.

He told Swimming World in June:

“It’s a terrible thing that is going on right now but it is also an opportunity. For the first time in years you have the opportunity to change things up or try different things. We swim now six times a week instead of 10 and I have always wondered what it was like if I could do a little more weights and a little less swimming, what effect it would have on my body.

“And now I can do it because there is the room, there’s no pressure because the next meet is way, way ahead. This is a big reset button that has been pressed for everyone around the world. Is it something you see as a good thing or a bad thing?

“If you dive back into the water is it like every other day and nothing happens or is it like I am really lucky I can swim again? It is the perspective you have which really makes a difference.”

He added:

“Mostly I see it as an opportunity – I have one more year to train and get better which really is a good thing for me. It was harder trying to maintain fitness knowing all the competitions were postponed but on the other hand my dream is the Olympics but also what comes after.

“I am starting to get out there now and I want to maintain that for many years. The Olympics is a big thing and I really want to go but I am also going to do Paris for sure. I am going for four more years. So for me I could easily shift my focus – I want to be a better swimmer over time, not just this summer, not just at the Olympics. So that really helped me.”

In case you forgot, the world rankings in the first three months of 2020 in the 100 & 200 breaststroke looked like this:

100 breast:

  1. 58.13, Adam Peaty, GBR
  2. 58.43, Arno Kamminga, NED
  3. 58.83, Yan Zibei, CHN
  4. 59.14, Michael Andrew, USA
  5. 59.48, James Wilby, GBR

200 breast:

  1. 2:07.18, Arno Kamminga, NED
  2. 2:07.28, Zac Stubblety-Cook, AUS
  3. 2:07.58, Shoma Sato, JPN
  4. 2:07.86, Ippei Watanabe, JPN
  5. 2:09.47, James Wilby, GBR