The 2017 KNZB Grand Prix – The Hague took place over the weekend, with rising stars and veteran athletes alike vying for qualification times for multiple upcoming competitions. Young athletes were shooting for European Youth Olympic Festival and European Junior Championships cuts, while others were seeking berths for the World University Games and World Championships.
One swimmer was able to venture into sub-50-second territory in the men’s 100m freestyle, as Ben Schwietert scored a winning time of 49.93 to take the win. The next closest competitor was NTC teammate Kyle Stolk who touched in 50.13 for silver. Stolk would also go on to take the gold in the men’s 200m freestyle, registering a time of 1:48.28 for the win. That effort checks in as Stolk’s 2nd fastest ever, just .28 off of his personal best of 1:48.00 set back in 2015.
The women’s 100m freestyle race is where the fireworks really went off, with 2012 two-time Olympic gold medalist Ranomi Kromowidjojo crushing an impressive 100m freestyle time of 53.87. That not only scored the only sub-54-second time of the field, but it also checks in within the world’s top 10 outings of the season. She, along with silver medal-winning teammate Femke Heemskerk, both qualified for the 2017 World Championships with their efforts. Heemskerk touched in 54.19 for 2nd place behind Kromo in the race.
Heemskerk qualified for a 2nd event for Budapest, throwing down a massive 1:56.69 200m freestyle in The Hague. At this point in the season, even after the recent Arena Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis and the NSW Championships in Australia, Heemskerk’s outing places as the 3rd fastest time of the season and just outside the swimmer’s own personal top 10 performances.
Kromo wasn’t done either, cranking out a huge 24.34 50m freestyle time on the final day of the meet. That not only qualifies the Olympian for the World Championships, it also now sits as the 2nd fastest time of the season.
Jesse Puts, the Dutch National Record holder, touched in 22.41 for the win, well off his 21.82 from last December, but enough to top the field by almost .4 of a second.
Finally, 2016 Olympian Marrit Steenbergen registered a new Dutch National Junior Record in the 200m IM, placing first in a mark of 2:14.68.