Femke Heemskerk Chats With Brett Hawke on Why She Has Always Been a Great Relay Swimmer

Photo Courtesy: Robert Stanton/USA Today Sports Images

Dutch sprinter Femke Heemskerk chatted with Brett Hawke on his podcast about her summer and return to racing amidst the COVID pandemic, as she is home in Eindhoven. Heemskerk swims for former swimmer Marcel Wouda and is training for her fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo at the age of 32.

Heemskerk talked about her early inspirations in swimming and how she was inspired to be a great swimmer when she won a bronze medal in the 4×100 freestyle relay at the 2007 World Championships when she was 19. She drew inspiration from Inge de Bruijn and Pieter van den Hoogenband when they won five gold medals at the 2000 Olympic Games.

Femke Heemskerk talked about how she handles her mental preparation during big meets and how to deal with race day anxieties (13:00), as well as what she thinks makes a great coach for her (20:50).

Heemskerk went over how she has been able to stay consistent for so long (25:00) as she was a gold medalist in the 4×100 freestyle relay at the 2008 Olympic Games for the Netherlands alongside Inge DekkerRanomi Kromowidjojo and Marleen Veldhuis as it was the Netherlands first relay Olympic gold medal since 1936.

Femke Heemskerk was sixth in the 100 freestyle final at last year’s World Championships and she expressed her chances at a gold medal in next year’s Olympic Games (30:00) saying that if she gets a lane in the final she will have a chance. She went over her weekly practice schedule (33:00) and how she is training to stay efficient and not necessarily be the strongest.

Heemskerk discussed her pre-race plan she focuses on and what her mindset has been before some of the best races of her career (37:00), as well as what the atmosphere is in the ready room at big meets.

She has been primarily known as a great relay swimmer, having won gold medals at the 2008 Olympics and 2009 & 2011 World Championships in the 4×100 freestyle relay and talked about why she has always been better on relays (42:00). Heemskerk finished by saying how she used visualization techniques ahead of the Rio Olympic Games (51:40) to help train her mind for different scenarios, rather than just the optimal outcomes, at the biggest meet of her career.

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