By Julia Galan
The EU Swim is yet again breaking new ground, heading to the Caribbean island of Curacao for its 11th anniversary from the 14th-16th of October, 2016. Hosted by the Bulado Swim Club, the event will take place at the newly renovated 8-lane S.O.V. Asiento swimming facility in capital city Willemstad.
The island of Curacao is considered one of the Caribbean’s best kept secrets. In addition to beautiful beaches, a warm, sunny climate and constant refreshing trade winds, Curacao’s capital city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich history dating back to the 17th century. EU Swim participants can use their time away from the pool to explore the city’s heritage, relax at the beach or explore the natural landscapes of Christoffel National Park on the west side of the island. With a 3-day format divided into 4 sessions of timed finals only on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning, teams will have a wide range of events to choose from so that they can have ample time for sightseeing.
Since its inception in Paris in 2006, the EU Swim has attracted a variety of teams from different parts of the world every single year. Every edition of the EU Swim has had its own unique elements – but the overall mission has remained the same: to offer all swimmers – young and old, beginners and elites – the opportunity to compete internationally, represent their country, travel, and explore the languages, cultures and athletic achievements of their fellow swimmers. Meet records for each age group, some of which have remained unbroken since 2006, add a competitive element to the event.
Each year, the EU Swim has been hosted by a different club, who are responsible for the organization and logistics of the competition, bringing a fresh new perspective to each edition of the event. This year, for example, Bulado Swim Club hopes to add a potential new event to the EU Swim, in the form of an Olympian swim clinic open to all participants. Project Streamline, offering a series of world champion clinics and mentorships, was recently founded by Olympian Larsen Jensen in an attempt to create special sessions that are “for athletes, by athletes”. In the Curacao edition of the Project Streamline Clinic, Jensen and two-time Olympic medalist Elizabeth Beisel hope to offer two sessions on October 12th and 13th, focusing on IM, backstroke and butterfly. The clinic has a minimum of athletes required to register, so be sure to secure your spot HERE!
We wanted to hear more from the host club itself this year, so we sat down with club president Ray Treurniet recently to learn about the club and what they have in store for the 2016 edition of the EU Swim!
JG: Tell me about the Bulado Swim Club and its competitive swimming program. What is your history, how many swimmers do you have, and what are your goals for the future?
RT: Our club was founded on March 28th, 1973, by Mr. Monique Alexandre Maria and Mr. Sigfried Djaoen. We actually just had the pleasure of celebrating our 43rd anniversary as a swimming club! Over the years, Bulado Swim Club has produced many talented swimmers who have achieved local, national and international success and who have broken quite a few records in the process.
Right now, we have a total of 95 athletes on our team. About 10 of these swimmers train in the USA and in Europe. We maintain a full training regime of 10 sessions per week lasting between 2 – 3 hours. We do dryland, video analysis, nutrition, technique work, speed training, sport massage and physiotherapy. All of these sessions are provided by Bulado’s coaches, parents and other volunteers.
Bulado Swim Club’s goals are to continue growing the club and to participate at and organize more international meets, such as the EU Swim.
JG: What was it about the EU Swim that made you decide to make room in your busy schedule to organize the 11th year?
RT: When our club participated in the 10th EU Swim in Orlando, we were impressed to see all the participating clubs from all over the world. We liked the atmosphere and friendliness of the meet and of all who took part in it and we wanted to also have the chance to organize the competition by combining it with our annual traditional Bulado Meet. Although the Bulado Meet does comply with all the rules and regulations for an international competition, it has never before been promoted and brought to such an international level in the ten years of its existence.
We know that organizing this meet will be very time consuming, but we are willing to take on this task together with all of our parents, volunteers and professionals. Our goal is to make the 11th EU Swim Meet one of the most unforgettable for our club and for the country of Curacao.
For Bulado Swim Club, this is not just any meet, but a combined EU Swim and Bulado Meet. We think this is a wonderful and great combination and we are looking forward to it!
JG: How was your experience at your very first EU Swim in Orlando?
RT: We can sum it up in two words – Tremendous and Excellent. Every detail was planned out and taken care of. We especially liked the fact that the officials/judges were open, simple and even took part in the opening ceremony of the meet.
JG: This is of course the first year that we are hosting this international competition in the Caribbean and Curacao is one of the most unique islands with so much history. There are so many selling points to the island but for you, as residents, what is most unique about Curacao? What would you recommend to visitors coming to Curacao for the first time?
RT: There are so many things to do on the island. We love our beaches, our underwater parks and caves, and of course our historic monuments. We would suggest that visitors take the time to see the sights and get to know the people of Curacao! You can also see the Tourism Board website for more ideas: www.curacao.com/en/
JG: What do you have planned for the EU Swim in addition to the swimming events?
RT: We’re in the process of organizing a great experience for the swimming participants. Some of the ideas include island guided tours, a cultural party following the competition and visiting the SAMBIL Shopping Mall. We also have the Project Streamline clinic that we hope to bring to Curacao for the EU Swim, featuring Elizabeth Beisel.
JG: Why should swimmers and teams come to the EU Swim in Curacao this year?
RT: It’ll be a fun competition in an incredible country. Curacao has a unique combination of 43 different cultures in the Caribbean, where more than 5 languages are being spoken. We have 365 days of sunshine and nice people. We call them ‘Dushi Hende’ in our language, Papiamento. Come join us in Curacao, you won’t regret it!
We’re looking forward to the EU Swim on 14-16 October, and we hope you’ll join us there!
Registration ends on Friday, 7 October, so be sure to complete the entry forms prior to that date. REGISTER HERE!
The entry deadline has passed, the teams have been tallied. Swimmers from 9 countries will be gathering at the YMCA of Central Florida in Orlando on September 19th-20th for the 10th annual EU Swim Series.
Headed by VP of Aquatics and Olympian Rowdy Gaines and Aquatics Director Mike Brady, the YMCA of Central Florida team is set to take the torch from 2014 Finnish hosts Simmis Hyvinkaa. Traditionally, the host club is responsible for the organization and logistics of the competition as well as the recruitment of national clubs, bringing a unique flavor and a fresh perspective to each year.
Although the event has officially taken on the name of the host club or city since the Tampere Open version of the EU Swim Series, our 2015 hosts have chosen to call this year’s competition the “EU Swim International Invitational”, marking the first time since 2011 that the EU Swim label has been used.
In another unique turn of circumstances, this year’s competition will be one of the most international editions yet. While the EU Swim has usually been characterized by a strong national component and a healthy, yet smaller international turnout, this year’s event has produced an even number of American and international participants.
The shift in the size and international makeup of the meet has the potential to produce a more intimate atmosphere that is less focused on the pressure of the competition, placing more emphasis on friendship and cultural exploration.
The diversity of countries that are expected to be present during this year’s competition is also reflective of the competition’s mission to promote “swimmers without borders”. Athletes from the Bahamas, Curacao, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago and the British Virgin Islands, in addition to the United States, are expected to be on deck next weekend. With all swimmers encouraged to participate in the traditional parade of countries, the pool is sure to turn into a festive display of national pride.
We would like to thank the YCF team for agreeing to organize the competition this year and we’re looking forward to this 10th anniversary! In the meantime, deck entries WILL be accepted this year, so please feel free to register yourselves or your swimmers!
For more on how the YMCA of Central Florida has prepared for this year’s competition, check out our video interview with Rowdy Gaines and Mike Brady.
See you this weekend.