Heemskerk, Van Roon Set For 50 Free Decider In Eindhoven


The 2021 Eindhoven Qualification Meet is nearly upon us with the action kicking off tomorrow, April 8th, with Olympic selection implications.

Here is a refresher on the Dutch Olympic selection policy:

  • The first phase of Olympic qualification began with the 2019 World Championships. As we reported, swimmers achieving a finish at least among the top 12 athletes in their respective events’ semi-finals at the 2019 FINA World Aquatic Championships in Gwangju, Korea were deemed qualified for next year’s Games in Tokyo.
    • The following Dutch swimmers fall into this initial category:
  • Arno Kamminga – men’s 200m breast (2:08.48 for 10th)
  • Jesse Puts – men’s 50m free (21.91 for 12th)
  • Femke Heemskerk – women’s 100m free (53.05 for 6th in final)
  • Ranomi Kromowidjojo – women’s 50m free (24.35 for 6th in final); women’s 100m free (53.43 for 9th)
  • Arjan Knipping – men’s 400m IM (4:17.06 for 8th; 4:13.46 in heats)
  • Swimmers who earned individual Olympic qualification spots on the Dutch roster for Tokyo 2020 from December’s Rotterdam performances are as follows:


  • As such, all individual swimming events except for the men’s 50m free and women’s 100m free still have at least one Olympic qualification spot up for grabs. Dutch swimmers will have the ability to try again either at this meet or the 2021 European Championships.

But for extra drama here in Eindhoven, we’ll see the battle for the remaining 50m free spot between Femke Heemskerk and Valerie van Roon. 

Background on the Heemskerk/van Roon situation:

As we reported last December,  33-year-old Heemskerk had to withdraw from the Rotterdam Olympic Qualification Meet at the last minute to the fact that her husband had tested positive for coronavirus. As such, the pair were placed in quarantine and the Olympic medalist was unable to compete. Her time from the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju which previously put her on the list for Dutch Olympic qualification stood at 24.71.

All that needed to happen for Heemskerk to retain her OLY qualification was for no one but Ranomi Kromowidjojo, who also has already qualified in the 50m, to be faster than 24.71. However, Valerie Van Roon ripped a 24.63 lifetime best in Rotterdam to supplant Heemskerk into the 2nd Olympic qualifier.

Here in Eindhoven, Heemskerk needs to beat both van Roon but also get under van Roon’s time of 24.63 in order to retrieve her roster spot.

In addition to the Dutch athletes, we’ll also see a sprinkling of Austrian and German swimmers, including Jessica Steiger and Damian Wierling.


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2 years ago

This is going to be an interesting meet. Joeri Verlinden is not able to compete due to “mild cold symptoms and a covid test where number 1 was positive, number 2 negative and the tournament doctor decided he is not allowed to compete” (stated on his instagram)
There is the 50 free Valerie vs Femke and then the sometimes stricter limits to qualify. (if you want to see them, on page 2 of this document, you have a table with the qualification standards https://www.nocnsf.nl/media/1640/sjabloon-normen-en-limieten-swimming-os-tokyo-2020.pdf )
And it’s the last chance for the paralympic swimmers to qualify
I’m so ready to see all of this 🙂

Last edited 2 years ago by Dorien
2 years ago

Frankly, I’m rooting for Van Roon here. Heemskerk is already a three time Olympian and also going in another event. While as far as I know this would be Van Roon’s first time

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  iLikePsych
2 years ago

Agreed and under the official criteria Van Roon earned the spot. Heemskerk should try the 200 again. That event is more open than the 50 where I don’t think Heemskerk is even one of the top 3 favourites.

Reply to  iLikePsych
2 years ago

I have some bad news for you in that case… Heemskerk just swam 24.28 in the prelims versus Van Roon’s 24.85
They both swim the final tonight, but Valerie would have to swim pretty fast…

2 years ago

Some other german swimmers (besides Wierling and Steiger) who might have some good swims:
Julia Mrozinski (200 free)
Poul Zellmann (400 free)
Lisa Höpink (100 fly)
Silas Beth (800 free)
Rafael Miroslaw (200 free)

Impossible to say where all of them are at currently (compared to their best), so it will be interesting to see if any of them have a shot at qualifying for the olympics.

Reply to  AnEn
2 years ago

You being German explains your obvious hatred and bias against any British swimmers.

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