NC State’s 2019 ACC Freshman of the Year Nyls Korstanje has decided to return to his home nation of the Netherlands to continue his training in the hopes of making the Dutch Olympic team.
After two years as a member of the Wolfpack, Korstanje cites the unpredictability of the coronavirus situation in the United States, providing too many uncertainties surrounding the swimming program. Instead, he will be based out of the National Training Centre in Eindhoven, at least for the coming months. He has plans to return to NC State after the Olympics.
“I have now decided to fully train in the Netherlands at least next season. I can continue to follow my educational program online. It is still unclear what the sporty future will bring, but I am sure in Eindhoven that I can continue to develop as a top swimmer thanks to the top facilities, the guidance and the strong swimming team. I am happy that the KNZB offers me this opportunity,” said Korstanje.
Coach Marcel Wouda, said of the change, “Nyls was in a difficult situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We had a number of conversations about his options and explained everything from all sides. It is good that he has now chosen with full conviction to join the program in Eindhoven 100% again. We have previously worked together to our great satisfaction and I look forward to doing so again in the coming period.”
Korstanje told SwimSwam that NC State Head Coach Braden Holloway “and I basically made the decision because of the uncertainty in training and competition. Since there are no big competitions this fall, we can decide about redshirting pretty late in the season.
“I will not be leaving NC State forever. As you all know there is a lot of uncertainty around training situations, NCAA competitions and international travel due to the covid situation. Currently I am unable to go back to Raleigh and I do not want to be dependent on a constantly changing situation.
“Coach Braden wants to protect the team, and is doing so by giving us the freedom to make the decision that fits everyone’s personal situation. Braden, Marcel (Dutch National team coach) and I took matters into our own hands and decided that it would be best for me to stay at home, where there is a stable system in place.
I greatly appreciate them for giving me this option. I will keep doing my schoolwork from home and I will still be swimming competitions with the diamond on my chest. Being a part of something greater than yourself has never been so hard, but tough times ask for tough decisions. All hail the PBG ♦️”
Korstanje earned the first individual ACC title of his career in 2019 with the 50y freestyle win. He doubled up with a 100 freestyle gold as well. He posted a 18.62 anchor split in the 200 medley relay at ACCs for NC State. Korstanje was slated to compete in all 3 relay teams and 3 individual events at the cancelled 2020 NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships.
As such, Korstanje’s departure deals a big blow to the NC State relay prospects in the near future. At the 2019 NCAA Championships, Korstanje led-off the Wolfpack and helped edge them to runner-up in the 200 free relay with a 19.03 opener.
The Wolfpack also took runner-up in the 400 free relay and third in the medley relay with Korstanje on board.
Individually, Korstanje brought 9 points to the Wolfpack, courtesy of his 12th place finish in the 50y freestyle (19.18) and 13th place in the 100y free (42.49).
Of note, Korstanje’s announcement follows the move from former NC State Associate Coach Bobby Gunturo is making to head up the program at UNC-Wilmington.
Korstanje isn’t the only college swimmer to have changed up his plans due to the uncertainty the coronavirus pandemic brings. For example, we already reported how two-time World Record setter at the 2019 World Championships, Regan Smith, has deferred her Stanford enrollment due to the conditions.
As we reported, Smith said she was fully ready to make the jump to college level, but that the ongoing uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic forced her to re-evaluate a move across the country. Smith will instead remain in Minnesota, training with coach Mike Parratto and her longtime Riptide Swim Club. She won’t begin taking classes through Stanford, but says she’s looking into taking online courses of some kind to stay connected to an academic routine during her gap year.