No fewer than twelve Alphen aan den Rijn swimmers competed in the Dutch Swimming Championships in Eindhoven and The Hague over two weeks in December. On Friday 23 December, they were surprised by Alderman Gert Jan Chotanus.
In Juniors 1st and 2nd grades only top 50 swimmers are allowed to participate in both boys and girls, in other classes you can only get in if you swim a specific time over a certain distance. Gert-Jan Schotanus, Alphen Alderman of Sport, together with the associations these swimmers represent: AZC, WVZ (Zoetermeer) and Blue Marlins (The Hague) also think that such an exceptional achievement, it was decided to give all these swimmers an extra sun setting.
Last Friday, December 23rd, all of these swimmers were invited to the Aquarijn pool in Alphen aan den Rijn where, after words of appreciation from an alderman, they all received a beautiful bouquet of flowers. “It’s very special and I’m very proud to have so many swimmers in our municipality who are at the national top. So I hope you all keep going after your dreams and that we’ll see you again in the future on a bigger stage like the Olympic Games.”
After the festivities, these swimmers enjoyed training together in Aquarijn under the watchful eye of proud parents and interested parties. And that this is a special squad is evident from the performance of these two thousand swimmers in the last Dutch Championships:
Dan Sonnefeld (WVZ – Zoetermeer) won at least two gold medals on his favorite backstroke, thus the Dutch Championships in the 100 and 200m and a silver in the 50m backstroke. Dan is an amazing talent who started swimming at a young age. He now lives on the sports campus of NOC*NSF in Eindhoven, where he trains at the KNZB Training Center.
Anouk Stiller (WVZ – Zoetermeer) Compete for first and second place where the final result will be contested over ten distances. She was the first to tap in the 100-meter freestyle, which, of course, is quite an achievement. Overall, she finished fifth and swam no fewer than nine PRs. Since this season, Anouk has also been training part-time with TOP Rijnhaeghe Swimming Network, a premium sports program from WVZ Zoetermeer and Albion Rotterdam.
Jade van der Schrier (AZC) has made tremendous progress in her swimming performance, especially in the past year, and is considered one of the best and most talented swimmers in the AZC. She competed in the junior 3-4 category and managed to win a silver medal in both the 400m freestyle and 800m freestyle events in two beautiful heats and as the technical director of AZC said: “In all of Holland there is only one person who is faster at these distances”. This year Jade has been accepted into the KNZB plus program where she will attend a number of courses at the OC (KNZB Training Centre) in The Hague.
Elsie Rozema (Blue Marlins – The Hague) made the transition from AZC to the Blue Marlins this year. She is an absolute sprint talent, and in addition to a handsome sixth place in the 100m freestyle, seventh place in the 50m freestyle and ninth place in the 200m free jump, she certainly won the bronze medal in the relay. 4 x 100 freestyle. Ilse can be found daily in the Hofbad in The Hague where she is training and is also accepted into the KNZB plus programme.
Sverre van der Zwaan (WVZ – Zoetermeer) He ended up at WVZ after a trip to open water, where he now trains part-time with Rijnhaeghe’s top swimming net. Sverre was ranked 33rd in the Dutch National Championships and managed to finish 23rd. In the 1500m race last weekend, he managed an impressive seventh place.
Nina van der Schrier (AZC) had two very good weekends as it performed above expectations. Nina is an AZC diamond in the rough and has made a huge leap conditionally this year. She managed to swim the third fastest time in the Netherlands no less than three times during the Dutch Championships and last weekend won the silver medal in the 800m freestyle. Nina also swims on KNZB plus.
Milo Van Winkle (WVZ – Zoetermeer) is the only Paralympic swimmer in the group. So her performance in the Dutch National Championships might be better. Since this year she has been working as a catering employee at Rijnvicus. Additionally, her heart lies in swimming, which she trains hard for. She managed to finish in the top five in all seven distances she competed, culminating in a third-place finish in the 50-meter backstroke.
Adrian Kopelmans (AZC) had been hit the week before Corona NK’s first weekend, which was a huge attack on his fitness. So it wasn’t easy sometimes. However, he fought for what he deserved (at the time). He still manages to improve his PR at various distances. Because of this corona damper he feels more burned to show what he already has in the regional championships in January 2023. Adriaan has also been accepted into the KNZB plus program.
Lyn Blossoms (Blue Marlins – The Hague) Alphen aan den Rijn has been a very strong swimmer for years. She has already won many prizes and has set herself up for no fewer than five distances for this Dutch championship. Her highest averages were fourth in the 50-meter breaststroke, fifth in the 200-meter breaststroke and seventh in the 100-meter breaststroke.
Nick Sonfield (WVZ – Zoetermeer) He discovered his love for chlorinated water not long after his older brother Dan. Despite the fact that he only started competitive swimming at the age of 11, this year (he’s now 14) he’s managed to put himself in no fewer than three national championship distances. Niek has managed to greatly improve his best times during these tournaments and that of course tastes more than that. Niet also trains part-time at the Rijnhaeghe senior swim net.
Renzo Stiller (WVZ – Zoetermeer) was allowed to start in the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay. They finished seventh and became sixth at this distance because it was a very good performance. Renzo swims in Zoetermeer’s JIO (Youth In Training) at WVZ and we expect to see his name come up more often in the future.
Mia Nahoon (AZC) is a bit of a weird guy so to speak. Besides the fact that she is a very talented water polo player and is part of the national water polo selection of girls under 15 who can eventually go to the European Championships, she can also swim very fast. She successfully qualified for two distances for the Dutch National Championships, the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle, where she set very good times.