This week marks the first year anniversary of my retirement from professional sports. On Monday, I was given the honour to pass on the Amsterdam Athlete of the Year award to European Champion Mirco Pruyser, a Dutch hockey player. A nice moment to reflect on what has happened in the last year.

It seems that everybody thinks retiring athletes are going to get bored. The two questions I got asked the most were “Do you miss it?” and “Aren’t you bored?”. I can honestly say that I have never been more busy in my life. As an athlete you always think you have a lot going on, but in fact you are living a very structured life:

At 8am I was in the pool for a quick stretch and core-body session. First swim of the day was from 8:30 to 10:30am and after that we did a gym training of about an hour. Back home for food, a nap and more food to come back to the pool at half past 4 again. Home at 7:30pm, food and off to bed. Day in day out except on Sunday: that is a pretty clear schedule. I always say that during my swimming career I had my calendar set on ‘year-view’, now it is on ‘day-view’.

Last September I started a Masters in Sports Management at the Johan Cruyff Institute in Amsterdam, through a Telesport scholarship. What I really liked about this education is all the different modules: I read and learn about (sports)marketing, event management, strategic management and how to write policy’s.

During my career I always felt the urge to keep on developing myself. I organised and conducted dozens of clinics and events and started the Swimclinics company with my buddy Joost Reijns. I have built websites, made photos and videos.

We organised an event called the ‘Rio Experience’, where more than 70 swimmers joined us and Femke Heemskerk, Maud van der Meer and S├ębas van Lith joined Joost and me to inspire and motivate these future elite swimmers. We did a pool and open water clinic, press conference and more.

For my sponsor Arena I got to go to the World Swimming Championships in Budapest. I was invited to join the marketing team for a week during this big event. Sometimes it was a little weird not to swim there myself, but above all it was great to see a different side of the competition and to see the Dutch Swimming Squad be in top form again.

At the World Cup in Eindhoven, we took over the pool with two clinics for almost 100 young aspiring swimmers and I had the pleasure to be co-commentator on the pool deck.

I joined the Personal Swimming team in March 2017. My buddy Bas van Velthoven started to conduct personal training, group training and front crawl courses in 2011 in Amsterdam, and all my former swimmer friends are active in his company.

At Swimclinics we are going to start with a monthly (Dutch) newsletters with tips, drills and information about our coming events. And we started a collaboration with Personal Swimming to train talented Dutch swimmers every Saturday morning in Amsterdam.

Naima van Schaik en Sebastiaan Verschuren getrouwd

Above all, 2017 will be the year where I married the most beautiful girl in the world on a perfect Saturday in September. An amazing day with a lot of great people and fantastic memories.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to keep blogging, also in English.




Categories: blog

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