Born Sept. 21, 1987 Femke Heemskerk is a sprinter from the Netherlands. Although she’s primarily a freestyle swimmer, she’s versatile in distance and also has a solid backstroke and IM – she believes that her medley training significantly improves her freestyle swimming. Heemskerk is also a five-time national record holder in three different events.
Standing 5’11” Heemskerk swam in her first international meet at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal, but she won her first international medal at the 2007 World Championships – she brought home a bronze medal as a apart of the 400m freestyle relay.
Heemskerk is big on alternative training – she believes that training needs to be fun and not boring. In the past she’s ran stairs, participated in beach circuits, cycled, and taken belly dancing classes, but she’s recently begun running twice a week. And although she loves this sort of training, she says that she loves simply swimming the most. Heemskerk has recently been training with Marcel Wouda, a former Dutch international swimmer.
At the 2008 European Championships Heemskerk broke her first world record on the Dutch 400m freestyle relay, and the same squad placed fourth in the 800m freestyle relay. In Manchester at the 2008 World Short Course Championships, Heemskerk won her first individual medals, finishing with a silver medal in the 200m freestyle. At the National Championships in June 2008, she broke three national records in the 200m freestyle, 200m IM and 100m backstroke. She holds records as a member of the Dutch team’s 400m freestyle relay in both long and short course as well as the short course 800m freestyle relay.
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Dutch relay team won a gold medal in the 400m freestyle relay. A few years later at the 2011 World Championships she won gold on the 400m freestyle relay, where she anchored the relay in the fastest split of the competition.
At the 2012 London Olympics Heemskerk and the Dutch relay finished second to the Australians in the 400m freestyle relay.
In Apr. 2015 she posted two top-10 swims all time in the 200m and 100m freestyles. Even though she’s one of 2015’s top 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 200m freestyle swimmers in the world, she’s posted the fastest 100m freestyle time of the year. Her swims in April 2015 placed her as the sixth fastest 100m freestyle swimmer of all time, and the fourth fastest 200m freestyle swimmer of all time.
2016 Rio Olympics
Heemskerk swam the 100m and 200m freestyles and both the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays. The Netherlands finished fourth in the 4x100m freestyle relay, and Heemskerk’s best individual result was 16th in the semifinals of the 200m freestyle.
2017 World Championships
Heemskerk teamed with Kim Busch, Maud Van Der Meer and Ranomi Kromowidjojo to win the bronze medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay. Heemskerk split a 52.84 on the second leg of the relay.
Swimming the third leg on the 4x100m Mixed freestyle relay, Heemskirk helped Netherlands to a silver medal; teaming with Ben Schwietert, Kyle Stolk and Ranomi Kromowidjojo.