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Sport Open Water Swimming
NOC Netherlands   
Born09 Sep 1993 in Baarn, NED
Height1.73 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Magdeburg, GER
Dutch, English, French
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began practising swimming seriously at age 14. "When I was 14, I already had the focus to be an Olympic champion."
Why this sport?
"Since I was young, I always had a lot of energy and was very competitive. I remember when we were younger, I was running in the fields with my brother and sister, and I always wanted to beat my brother. Then, one day I told my parents that I want to be an Olympic champion. I did a lot of sports. I chose swimming because I got asked by a coach to practice more. So I decided to concentrate on the swimming and do it professionally."
Club / Team
Montpellier Mediterranee Metropole UC Natation: France
Name of coach
Bernd Berkhahn [personal], GER, from 2020
Training Regime
Her training base is in Magdeburg, Germany.
General Interest
Shar (Athlete, 15 Jul 2015)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the 10km open water event at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (fina.org, 17 Mar 2018)
She was hampered by a shoulder injury in 2019. (ad.nl, 14 Jul 2019)

She sustained a shoulder injury in October 2015 that troubled her into mid-2016. (fina.org, 04 Dec 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"If you give all of yourself in training then competing is easy. Believe in yourself and everything is possible." (Athlete, 15 Jul 2015)
Awards and honours
She was named Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year for 2014, 2018 and 2021 by the European Swimming Federation [LEN]. (len.eu, 31 Jan 2022; mundodeportivo.com, 15 Feb 2019; swimswam.com, 05 Feb 2015)

She was named the International Swimming Federation [FINA] Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year in 2016. (fina.org, 04 Dec 2016)
Other information
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 she returned to her home in France from her German training base and used a paddling pool to continue training. "You couldn't swim in the ocean, river, I tried to swim everywhere, but it wasn't possible. I tried to keep myself fit and I was also thinking, 'I just want to go back and train'. I thought I cannot go anywhere - the police are everywhere. You feel really good when you swim on resistance [in the paddling pool]. I did some other workouts at home, but I filmed myself in that pool and got a lot of reactions. I recommend a bigger pool because I was touching the ground with my finger." (tokyo2020.org, 03 Mar 2021)

In August 2020 she made the switch from French coach Philippe Lucas to German coach Bernd Berkhahn. "In the last year I started to doubt too often and too strongly about the collaboration with Philippe. I have become an Olympic champion under his leadership and I am very grateful to him, but I am ready for change and something new. Last season I did a number of training internships with the group of Bernd Berkhahn, who is also the German national team coach, and I really liked it. I have now taken the plunge and I am very happy to be able to work in Bernd's team." (swimswam.com, 07 Aug 2020)

At age seven she and her parents moved to France, where she started swimming at a competitive level. In 2008 she decided to compete for the Netherlands. After spending time training in the Netherlands, she chose to return to France in 2013 to train with coach Philippe Lucas. "When I was younger I didn't have a lot of friends, I didn't see a lot of people, I was always concerned about my practice and my body. Even when I was 18 or 20 years old, I would barely go out because I always wanted to be 100% committed to my training, diet and body to have the best times. Many people didn't believe in me. They said I would never get a medal in international competitions. So, I started to do things about myself. That was the time when I moved to France and started training with my coach. I saw this as my last resort to improve and get the results I always dreamed." (medium.com, 02 Jun 2019; nocnsf.nl, 21 Jan 2010; parool.nl, 16 Apr 2009)

Her shoulder injury sustained in October 2015 led her to doubt her ability to perform well at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "I lost all my power and couldn't sprint, couldn't go fast and in the pool it was the same. I was a little depressed I think because Rio was fast approaching, in less than four weeks. If I was asked to sign for a bronze medal without racing I would have said yes. During the race I was already very tired after six kilometres but I somehow managed to touch the pad first. I then became an Olympic champion. I showed everyone I could do it even though I had a tough year. I always said I was going be an Olympic champion since I was age four." (fina.org, 04 Dec 2016)

Her biography entitled 'BRUUT' was released in January 2020, written by Natasja Weber, a journalist for Dutch newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad. (Instagram profile, 18 Jan 2020)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
16 2021 Tokyo, JPN 200m Backstroke 2:12.98
Heats 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 400m Freestyle 4:11.44
Heats 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 800m Freestyle  DNS
11 2012 London, ENG 200m Backstroke 2:09.50
20 2012 London, ENG 100m Backstroke 1:00.61
6 2012 London, ENG 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:57.28
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
6 2015 Kazan, RUS 1500m Freestyle 16:03.74
8 2015 Kazan, RUS 800m Freestyle 8:24.12
2 2015 Kazan, RUS 400m Freestyle 4:03.02
Heats 2015 Kazan, RUS 4 x 100m Medley Relay  
3 2011 Shanghai, CHN 200m Backstroke 2:07.78
Semifinal 2011 Shanghai, CHN 100m Backstroke 1:00.14
World Championships Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
Heats 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 800m Freestyle 8:27.41
7 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 400m Freestyle 4:03.69 
22 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 200m Freestyle 1:57.47 
3 2014 Doha, QAT 800m Freestyle 8:08.17
2 2014 Doha, QAT 400m Freestyle 3:57.76
1 2014 Doha, QAT 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 7:32.85
Heats 2012 Istanbul, TUR 200m Backstroke 2:08.51
Semifinal 2012 Istanbul, TUR 100m Backstroke 58.89
Heats 2012 Istanbul, TUR 200m Freestyle 1:58.38
5 2010 Dubai, UAE 200m Backstroke 2:04.10
Semifinal 2010 Dubai, UAE 100m Backstroke 58.69
Heats 2010 Dubai, UAE 200m Freestyle 1:56.22
Heats 2010 Dubai, UAE 50m Backstroke  DNS
European Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
6 2016 London, ENG 400m Freestyle 4:09.50
Heats 2016 London, ENG 1500m Freestyle  DNS
8 2016 London, ENG 800m Freestyle 8:35.76
5 2014 Berlin, GER 800m Freestyle 8:28.28
Heats 2014 Berlin, GER 200m Butterfly 2:14.10
Heats 2014 Berlin, GER 1500m Freestyle 16:26.53
2 2014 Berlin, GER 400m Freestyle 4:03.76
20 2010 Budapest, HUN 400m Freestyle 4:18.94 
5 2010 Budapest, HUN 200m Backstroke 2:11.56
8 2010 Budapest, HUN 100m Backstroke 1:01.79
Heats 2010 Budapest, HUN 200m Freestyle 2:02.81
European Championships Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
5 2015 Netanya, ISR 400m Freestyle 4:01.04
3 2015 Netanya, ISR 800m Freestyle 8:15.84
Heats 2015 Netanya, ISR 200m Freestyle 1:57.33
Heats 2013 Herning, DEN 200m Backstroke 2:11.18
3 2013 Herning, DEN 800m Freestyle 8:14.24
4 2013 Herning, DEN 400m Freestyle 3:59.22
Heats 2013 Herning, DEN 200m Freestyle  DNS
Heats 2013 Herning, DEN 4 x 50m Medley Relay  DSQ
5 2012 Chartres, FRA 100m Backstroke 58.47
4 2012 Chartres, FRA 200m Backstroke 2:05.85
2 2010 Eindhoven, NED 200m Backstroke 2:04.13
2 2010 Eindhoven, NED 100m Backstroke 57.91
6 2010 Eindhoven, NED 400m Freestyle 4:05.30
20 2009 Istanbul, TUR 200m Backstroke 2:07.72
22 2009 Istanbul, TUR 100m Backstroke 59.69
8 2009 Istanbul, TUR 400m Freestyle 4:05.14
12 2008 Rijeka, CRO 800m Freestyle 8:30.42
17 2008 Rijeka, CRO 400m Freestyle 4:09.61
World Cup Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
2 2016 Tokyo, JPN 800m Freestyle 8:17.54
5 2016 Tokyo, JPN 400m Freestyle 4:04.35
5 2013 Eindhoven, NED 800m Freestyle 8:16.34 NR
5 2013 Eindhoven, NED 400m Freestyle 4:01.73
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2022 Budapest, HUN 10km 2:02:29.2
3 2022 Budapest, HUN 25km 5:24:15.3
10 2022 Budapest, HUN 5km 58:08.9
10 2019 Gwangju, KOR 10km 1:54:51.1
  2019 Gwangju, KOR 25km  DNS
11 2019 Gwangju, KOR 5km 58:11.6
7 2019 Gwangju, KOR 5km - Team Relay 54:37.2
17 2017 Budapest, HUN 10km 2:01:55.5
2 2017 Budapest, HUN 25km 5:22:00.8
4 2017 Budapest, HUN 5km 59:11.5
2 2015 Kazan, RUS 10km 1:58:06.7
4 2015 Kazan, RUS 5km 58:55.5
2 2015 Kazan, RUS 5km - Team Time Trial 55:31.2
European Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2021 Budakalász, HUN 5km 58:45.2
1 2021 Budakalász, HUN 10km 1:59:12.7
1 2018 Glasgow, SCO 5km 56:01.0
1 2018 Glasgow, SCO 10km 1:54:45.7
2 2018 Glasgow, SCO 25km 5:19:34.7
1 2018 Glasgow, SCO 5km - Team Relay 52:35.0
4 2016 Hoorn, NED 10km 2:07:06.8
3 2016 Hoorn, NED 5km 59:54.9
1 2014 Berlin, GER 10km 1:56:06.9
2 2014 Berlin, GER 5 km 58:29.9
1 2014 Berlin, GER 5km - Team Time Trial 55:47.8
World Series
Rank Year Venue Event Result
  2022   10km  
2 2022 Paris, FRA 10km 2:00:35.77
2 2022 Setúbal, POR 10km 2:09:32.30
3 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 10km 1:58:22.1
  2020   10km  
3 2020 Doha, QAT 10km 1:56:41.3
67 2019   10km  
12 2019 Doha, QAT 10km 2:04:05.2
3 2018   10km  
6 2018 Abu Dhabi, UAE 10km 2:00:27.4
9 2018 Balatonfüred, HUN 10km 2:06:15.50
6 2018 Beau Vallon, SEY 10km 1:58:36.50
1 2018 Doha, QAT 10km 2:02:24.4
4 2018 Qiandaohu, CHN 10km 2:06:24.90
2 2018 Setúbal, POR 10km 2:05:20.26
14 2017   10km  
2 2017 Abu Dhabi, UAE 10km 1:52:35.4
21 2015 San Miguel de Cozumel, MEX 10km 1:49:36.00