New Dutch Pro Swim Team

By Oene Rusticus

AMSTERDAM. BEGINNING this month, Amsterdam (The Netherlands) will have his own professional swim team, as an answer to the team in Eindhoven where Pieter van den Hoogenband and Inge de Bruijn are swimming.

Cees Vervoorn (multiple Olympic swimmer and coach) created the new team, which is called "Top Zwemmen Amsterdam" (Top Swimming Amsterdam), together with Michiel Bloem and Hans Elzerman. Coach of this team, which begins with seven members, is Fedor Hes, a young talented coach, who has been the assistant coach of Ad van der Ven (2000 Olympic coach) at AZ&PC Amersfoort the last few years. They are going to set up an individualized program for the swimmers to guide them to success at the 2004 Olympics.

Breaststroker Benno Kuipers will be the most experienced swimmer on the team. Beginning with the European championships in Vienna in 1995, he improved his international standing, highlighted by his sixth-place finish in the 200m breaststroke at the World Championships in Perth (1998). Last year, he was disappointed after suffering some serious injuries.

The second swimmer of TZA is Ewout Holst, who has shown his talent in butterfly with a sixth place in the 50 fly in Fukuoka, promising for the next European Championships in Antwerp (Belgium). He is also a good freestyler and has been very valuable in relays at international championships.

Johan Kenkhuis is a real relay swimmer, a key part of the silver 400 freestyle relay in Fukuoka and the silver 800 freestyle relay at the Olympics in Sydney. So far, he has only gained individual success at the European Youth Championships in Antwerp (1998), placing first in both 100 and 200 freestyle.

Backstroker Sander Ganzevles won medals at the European Youth Championships Dunkerque (2000) in all three backstroke events, and also made finals in the 200 backstroke at the 2000 European Championships (LC). Because of an injury going into the Trials, he didn't make the World Championships this year.

Young Thijs van Valkengoed is a real breaststroke talent, earning three gold medals at the last two EYC's. Besides swimming, he also begins university this month at the Johan Cruijf University in Amsterdam, where he will major in Economics.

At 17, Robin van Aggele is the youngster swimmer of the team. In his first EYC in Malta this year, he ranked fourth in the 200 IM. Next year he hopes to win.

The only female swimmer on the team is 18-year-old Chantal Groot. She earned a name for herself at the EYC at Antwerp with gold in the 100 fly and silver in the 100 freestyle. At the European Championships at Istanbul (LC) she bronzed her 50 fly. This year was disappointing for her when she failed to final in the 50 fly in Fukuoka.

The team is going to work out in the new 50-meter Sloterparkbad in Amsterdam and in the 1500 square meter gym next to it. Also they're going to work together with the Spanish swim team Sabadell, coached by the successful Dutch coach Paulus Wildeboer. They are planning on sharing facilities and knowledge, especially during training camps.

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