On the first full day of the Dutch Junior Short course Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, Hendrik van der Leest had a great start in his 100m fly race, flying to a fantastic 3rd place with a new PB of 1:04.38 and thereby taking over a second off his recent personal best time. During the first 75m Hendrik was in full contention for the Silver medal, fought hard but eventually settled for Bronze.
Earlier in the morning Hendrik set a new PB in his 100m free at 57.64 sec, seeded 8th and finishing 8th in the final heat. With the winning time of low 55 seconds, there is plenty of time to make up!
The final event of the day was 400 free. Hendrik was entered on the back of an entry time from November 2016 (previous club champs ) and as a consequence seeded only 27th whilst his most recent Club Champs time would have placed him in the final session. Regardless, Hendrik set himself the goal to end the race below 4:30 with a clear race plan agreed by the local coaches; swim flat at 34. He executed the plan, led from the start and ended up a full length ahead of the pack in a final time of 4:29.53 thereby taking over 2 seconds of his last time on Tuesday and ultimately ending 6th overall.
Today is another full day of racing with 200 back, 50 free, 200 free and 50 back.
The second day commenced with 200 back where Hendrik was first seeded. He was fiercely challenged in his swim by his friend Hessel who swims for same club. After a fast opening Hessel took the initiative and led at 100 as well as 150 metres. In the last 50 metres Hendrik secured his first gold in this short course event in a time which was marginally slower than his recent pb but enough to climb on to the podium on the highest rank. He now holds the both long course and short course titles for 200 back in 2017.
Buoyed by his success he felt confident in attacking the 50 free where he was seeded joint 16th with 26.9. Hendrik led from the start in the penultimate heat and raced to a new Pb at 26.1 which was ultimately good enough for 5th place in the overall ranking.
After the break the afternoon started with 200 freestyle. In an extremely competitive field the pace was set high with openings in 58 for the leading, Brazilian based contender. Hendrik competed long for 3rd Place but ultimately had to settle for 4th with yet another PB finishing at 2:03.52.
Final event of the day was 50 back, again a strong field and tight margins. Hendrik opened strongly at 14.2 and turned second below Dutch National Record time. Hendrik finished at 28.93 below the national record but unfortunately he was pipped at the finish by 17/100 and finished in second place. An exciting race with an excellent end result.
At the end of day two Hendrik now has a full complement of medals. The final Day, three, still all to play for with more events to come.
The third and final day of the Dutch National SC Championships was a fully packed day with 100 breaststroke, 50 fly, 100 back and 200IM. Hendrik decided not to race in the 200 fly where he was 3rd seed, in order to focus on the other 4 events.
Hendrik was last seed in the 100 breast with the narrowest of margin of 2/100 which, as later would turn out, could have been enough for a winning place in the fly. With his last seeding at number 30 the aim was to climb up the seeding ladder! Hendrik started well, setting him up well for the final score, finished second in his heat with a PB time of 1:17.34, finishing 15th overall.
After a short break, Hendrik had to prepare for the 50 fly and, with a 4th seeding, everything was to play for. After 25m, with a low 14 sec split, Hendrik was still in contention for 3rd place. As the race came to conclusion it was the score board presenting the end result as to the eye it was indiscernible who had claimed 3rd place. Unfortunately, his time at 28.53 ( PB ) was 1/100 slower than Siebren Beeksma and he had to be content with 4th place.
Midday break followed which allowed for some much needed recovery time as the afternoon was still action packed.
With en entry time of 1:03.08 in the 100 back, Hendrik was seeded fastest, closely followed by friend and team mate Hessel Broekstra in the next lane. Hessel opened quickly and was leading after 25m, 50m and 75m. At the last turn Hendrik was over a length behind though with a herculean effort, he closed the gap and with a time of 1:02.48 he claimed his second gold medal; Double Dutch Gold Delight.
The final event of the day was the 200IM, again with a top 3 seeding, but this time with Brazilian/Dutch power added into the mix through Stefan de Freitas Steverink, a phenomenal swimmer who flew in from Sao Palo to compete in Eindhoven. It made our travels looks like a local bus trip. Hendrik’s strategy was to go fast and stay with him in order to secure a podium place. At the halfway point Hendrik was still only 0.4 behind but …… with breaststroke to follow the situation quickly changed and the gap widened to +5 seconds on 150m. At this point he had secured 2nd place and despite a late charge from Simon Claasen on the last 50 free, silver was secured with another PB; Double Dutch Silver Delight.
For completeness and recognition, Stefan de Freitas Steverink destroyed the field and broke the Dutch National Record with a final time of 2:12.48. Needless to say that Hendrik still has some breast stroke technique training to do! Stefan also claimed first position in the Arena overall classification with Hendrik securing 3rd place.
After 3 days of swimming, some very long days, 10 events, 2 golds, 2 silvers, 1 bronze and 9 PBs this SC Championships has come to an end with many tired swimmers and even more exhausted parents.
All of this would not have been possible with the training effort back home ( thank you Louise ) as well as the effort from the local Dutch coaches
( Yvonne and Stefan ) who supported, coached, set goals and motivated him for each race in Eindhoven.
All in all, a successful event and from a fantastic venue, regarded as one the global swimming temples: Pieter van den Hoogenband Swim Stadium.
Share this page: