Dutch fans got the news they wanted to hear on Thursday when Ranomi Kromowidjojo said she would continue swimming until Tokyo 2020. Kromowidjojo made the announcement at the press conference for the Eindhoven leg of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup.
“I said I would continue until the World Championships in Budapest, and after that I would decide whether to keep swimming, but I knew before Budapest that I would,” she said.
“So I decided today, because there was a press conference, that I would tell everybody, and then the word is out. That way, nobody is talking about my last races coming up and putting pressure on me. I really love swimming, and love improving at it, getting better every day.”
Kromowidjojo, who reclaimed the 50m freestyle record at the Berlin leg of the World Cup this week, said she has maintained her focus after Budapest and intends to compete throughout the series.
“I thought it would be more difficult to keep going, physically, but I’m still standing. A lot of the swimmers are a little tired, but it’s really nice to go from long course to short course. The first race in the 25m pool is always strange, especially under lights — it’s so fast, you miss your turns.”
Weertman ready for short course challenge
Her partner, Ferry Weertman, received a long-term performance award from Dutch federation chairman Marius van Zeijts during the conference.
Weertman, the 10km open water Olympic champion, added world championship gold to his collection in Budapest last month, but faces a different kind of challenge in Eindhoven, where he has lived for more than seven years.
“It’s the turns that are the biggest problem, and the speed is quite high for me,” he said.
“I have to keep up the same pace for quite long in the 1500m, but in the 200m the speed is quite high. I didn’t get the results I wanted in Berlin, but hopefully those races in Berlin will help me do better here. My PBs in the 1500m and 400m are from the World Cup in Eindhoven four years ago, so it would be nice if I could break them again, now we are back here.
“It’s nice the fans get to see the Dutch athletes at their best against other swimmers who are also at their best. You have the best in the world swimming against each other, and that inspires and motivates a lot of kids to train their heart out and, of course, they get a chance to meet their idols.”
Big names lining up in Eindhoven
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte landed the 200m fly gold in Budapest, alongside silvers in the 1500m free and 400m medley, and is looking forward to renewing her rivalry with Katinka Hosszu, who pipped her for gold in the latter.
“It’s always a great competition when I race against her,” said Belmonte.
“The World Cup is ideal after the World Championships, but it’s strange now to swim in the 25m pool — it’s difficult to concentrate on the turns, and the skills are different than in the 50m pool. After this, I have a holiday and then I don’t know whether I will compete again this year because I need a good rest, then I have to build up training again.
“The main focus now is next year, and the European Championships in Glasgow. The long-term focus is Tokyo 2020, but let’s see after Glasgow.”
Tournament director Pieter van den Hoogenband, the former triple Olympic champion who lends his name to Eindhoven’s swimming stadium, was encouraged by the number of experienced athletes who are in town this week.
Chad Le Clos, Cate Campbell, Kyle Chalmers, Sarah Sjostrom and Federica Pellegrini are other big names lining up for the third leg of the World Cup, which brings the European cluster to a close.
This article was first published on the FINA website.