Welcome to Willemstad, Curaçao!

The motto for our competition has always been “swimmers without borders” – and we are delighted to bring our event to the Caribbean this year. Bulado Swim Club is proud to invite you to Willemstad, Curaçao from the 14th-16th of October, 2016 for the 11th year of our unique swimming competition!

Considered one of the best-kept secrets of the Caribbean, the island of Curaçao is not only known for its beautiful beaches and gorgeous natural landscapes. Capital city Willemstad, on the east side of the island, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich history dating back to the 17th century. During your time off from the pool, you can explore the city’s heritage, do some shopping, hang out at a café or experience Curaçao’s dining scene. Alternatively, you can get in touch with nature on the west side of the island – known for its small fishing villages, secluded beaches and the 1800-hectare Christoffel National Park.

Hosting the EU Swim in Curaçao during October will allow you to take advantage of the lower costs that accompany the off-season. There are non-stop flights from the United States and from the Netherlands in Europe, with connecting flights available to any part of the world, so the island is easily accessible! If you want to combine your holiday with a trip to the United States, Miami is only a three-hour direct flight from Curaçao. Check out the Curaçao Tourism Board website here to plan the perfect holiday!

The recently renovated Asiento facility boasts an 8-lane 25 meter pool equipped with non-turbulent lanelines, a separate smaller pool for warmup purposes and ample spectator seating for family, friends and supporters. We’ve divided the meet into 4 sessions with timed finals only on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning. This will allow you to have a wide range of events to choose from so that you can have ample time for sightseeing in between sessions.

Teams who wish to make their trip to Curaçao into a training camp experience prior to or after the competition are welcome to contact the organizers for arrangements at [email protected].

We are very excited to be working with the Bulado Swim Club for the 2016 edition of this event. More details will be made available soon. Join us on the island this October and enjoy a weekend of fast swimming and fun in paradise!

Paris 2006
Liege 2007
Slupsk 2008
Aarschot 2009
Neuchatel 2010
Miskolc 2011
Tampere 2012
We have been to…

This year, we’re headed to…

  • Willemstad, Curaçao!

Instructional swimming videos, customized workouts, technique tips, swimming reviews, and more!


Swimmers Without Borders: EU Swim Orlando 2015

By Julia Galan

EU Swim Paris 2006

EU Swim Paris 2006

For a competition whose slogan is “swimmers without borders”, the EU Swim Series will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in perfect style. On the 19th and 20th of September, 2015, this international competition will cross the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in its history, landing at the world-class YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando, Florida and opening its doors to swimmers of all ages and levels from the United States and abroad.

Hosted by the YMCA of Central Florida, the EU Swim will maintain its traditional short course meters format this year, providing American participants a unique opportunity to test their times on a new course. With a dual-USA Swimming and U.S. Masters Swimming sanction, this year’s edition is hoping to attract a variety of competitors, from Masters swimmers, to collegiate athletes, to age groupers.

The EU Swim will celebrate its 10th year in September

The EU Swim will celebrate its 10th year in September

I first started the EU Swim back in 2006 as part of my Master’s degree requirements while studying European Affairs at political science institute Sciences Po in Paris. For me, the competition was initially just an experiment in European citizenry. Much emphasis was placed on achieving “unity in diversity” – celebrating diverse national heritages while embracing similarities as Europeans. Sport has often been used to connect and unite people from across the globe – and that is what the EU Swim set out to do that first year in Paris.

Polish swimmers cheer on teammates at the EU Swim Aarschot 2009

Polish swimmers cheer on teammates at the EU Swim Aarschot 2009

Turning a dream into reality is often a long and difficult process and organizing the first year of the EU Swim was no exception. The competition truly became a grassroots initiative – from emailing hundreds of clubs across Europe, to contacting potential sponsors, to receiving permits from the appropriate sports authorities in Paris. Although there were ups and downs, the rewards were worth the effort. Particularly remarkable was the unique atmosphere, at once convivial and competitive. The competition was new and exciting for many of the swimmers, some of whom had never traveled abroad before.

Because of this initial success and warm reception from the participants, the EU Swim didn’t stop in the City of Lights. The scope of the competition widened – it was not just for EU citizens or European citizens, it became a competition open to swimmers from across the globe. Since Paris 2006, the EU Swim has been hosted in a different European city and country each year, including Belgium, Poland, Switzerland, Hungary, Finland and Estonia. Adopting the slogan “Swimmers without Borders”, the event has attracted between 200-600 swimmers from up to 12 countries each year.

EU Swim Miskolc 2011

The SSF Bonn relay team at the EU Swim in Miskolc 2011

And every year, that same unique atmosphere prevails. The EU Swim is more than just an average swim meet. Many of the teams have come to participate nearly every single year, and traveling to a new country for the same competition on an annual basis has become a reunion of sorts – the opportunity to see old friends and make new ones. 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.

Veliky Novgorod pose for a team photo at Hyvinkaa 2014

Veliky Novgorod pose for a team photo at Hyvinkaa 2014

Particularly poignant for me has been to see swimmers of all ages standing on the podium to proudly receive their medals, waving their country flags enthusiastically during the parade of countries, or exchanging swim caps with other teams. Mark Twain once wrote that “…(t)ravel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness…”, and what better way to travel and meet people than through a sport that you love? Sadly, however, most swimmers who do not reach a certain level of performance in swimming are never offered an opportunity to compete internationally. This was a fault that I have always hoped that the EU Swim could correct, if only in a small way.

The organizing team, volunteers and officials at Hyvinkaa 2014

It is partly because of this mission that EU Swim is traveling to a different continent this year. By bringing the meet to the United States, the EU Swim can expand in its diversity and include swimmers from an even wider variety of countries. The event will allow all swimmers to celebrate their love for the sport together, and may also allow for the opportunity to set some new meet records in the meantime.

Indeed, the EU Swim may be open to all levels of swimmers, but that has not stopped quite a few Olympians and national swimmers from participating over the years. And with the Orlando YMCA’s fast pool, a venue that has seen numerous record-setting swims from such swimming greats as Michael Phelps, Janet Evans, and Rowdy Gaines, the possibilities for the 10th anniversary are endless.

Join us in Orlando this September!

Join us in Orlando this September!

Set in a fabulous city that attracts tourists from across the globe, and with a dedicated organizing team, the 10th anniversary of the EU Swim is shaping up to be quite an event. And since registration is open until Friday, September 11, 2015, why not bring your swimmers and join us there? Looking forward to meeting you!

For more information, please visit the meet website at www.euswim.org

The Sound of Swimming: Keila Swim Club’s Frants Tikerpuu

By Tõnu Meijel
Head Coach, Keila Swim Club

Frants Tikerpuu

Frants Tikerpuu

It is a well-known fact that swimming is one of the most popular activities in the world, and this is no exception here in Estonia. We have almost 40 active swimming clubs in our small republic. At Keila Swim Club alone, we have more than 700 dedicated young swimmers striving to achieve their goals in the pool.

However, even the most determined of athletes have hobbies outside the pool. One of these swimmers is our own Frants Tikerpuu, and I would like to tell you his story. Born in 1997, Frants started swimming about 8 years ago in his hometown of Pärnu, a small city in the south of Estonia that is known as the Summer Capital of Estonia thanks to its marvellous beaches. Frants had a great deal of success at the UCA swimming club, and quickly excelled in the sport. His dedication and desire to rise to the top of the ranks in Estonian swimming eventually led him to ask if he could join my training group in Tallinn.

As an Olympic-level coach with over 45 years of experience, I saw great potential in Frants and agreed to work with him one-on-one. At first, I gave Frants written training programs to follow during the week on his own in Pärnu, and one-on-one coaching on weekends in Tallinn with me. After two years of increased improvements in his swimming performances, Frants’ supportive family made the decision to move to Tallinn so that he could train with me and the Keila Swim Club on a daily basis.

Frants excels at swimming and music.

Frants excels at swimming and music.

The training has paid off so far. Frants completes 10 to 11 training sessions per week, in addition to his studies at Audentes, a special school for highly motivated athletes. As a result of our joint efforts, Frants is rising to the top levels of the junior age groups and his very first medals from Nationals and the Nordic Championships now have a place in the trophy case at home.

However, this part of Frants’ story is not necessarily uncommon. Many young men and women such as he have trained hard and achieved similar success. What is not as well-known about Frants is that he is also a highly talented musician, and graduated from the prestigious Pärnu Music School cum laude in 2011, specializing in piano. In my over 45 years of experience, I have worked with hundreds of swimmers, but have not met such a gifted individual as Frants is. I marvel at his ability to play any piece on the piano immediately after listening to it. Watching his YouTube channel that features various covers of rather difficult melodies makes me feel proud.

Seeing Frants’ talents first-hand has made me realize that we, as coaches, should invest more in our swimmers as individuals. We need to look beyond simply their results in the pool and encourage their overall development, in and out of the pool. They have so much more to give us than just swimming fast times! I, for one, am proud to support Frants in both his swimming and his music goals.

Our partnership is at an early stage, and our goals are pretty high. But one day, after he wins many medals in swimming, I would like to be sitting in some concert hall somewhere in the world and listen to the music that my swimmer will play. In the  meantime, let the music help us both to  achieve our goals!

Frants has participated in the EU Swim for two consecutive years, both in Tallinn and in Hyvinkaa. We wish him and Coach Meijel all the best in their future endeavors!


Swimming with Diabetes: A Conversation with Carly Lenett

Julia Galan

Carly Lenett

Carly Lenett

When we first wrote about 9-year old Carly Lenett’s Annual Swim for Diabetes with Kristy Kowal a few months ago, we were so impressed that we wanted to hear more! A confident and spirited young swimmer, Carly was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was just three years old, and has lived with the disease ever since, actively managing many of the associated responsibilities on her own. Since first organizing the Swim for Diabetes in 2012, Carly and her family have championed the cause of diabetes advocacy and fundraising, playing an active role in their local American Diabetes Association chapter. From the swim itself, to a walk-a-thon, to starting their own clothing line, “Dolce & Banana”, the Lenetts are on a mission: to fight diabetes, help find a cure, and – most importantly – to help Carly lead a healthy, active life. And they are doing just that. Below, we hear from Carly about her swimming background, how she started the Swim for Diabetes, and what message she hopes to send about living with the disease.

JG: Carly, you’re quite a fast competitive swimmer! Why did you decide to start swimming and what do you like most about the sport?

CL: I started swimming by jumping in when I was four years old, to try to follow my brother. If he could do it, so could I. I didn’t want to get out and I just started swimming back and forth. I’ve always LOVED the water. I love everything about swimming and it keeps me in the water.

Carly with her father, Mitch, who has also lived with Type 1 diabetes since childhood

Carly with her father, Mitch, who has also lived with Type 1 diabetes since childhood

JG: You were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when you were three years old, and you are very skilled at managing the disease independently. Has swimming played a role in helping you deal with diabetes on a day-to-day basis?

CL: Swimming is so good for my diabetes, it helps keep my blood sugars lower better than anything else I could do. I feel like I can stay healthier by swimming.

JG: How do your family and friends help you along your journey in swimming and in life?

CL: My family, friends, and coaches are so supportive and help me so much. My dad really helps me stay focused on living a healthy life. We work out together and it’s so fun. It really helps me that he has diabetes too. It’s hard sometimes, but I know I have a lot support and help.

JG: I’m very excited to hear more about your annual Swim for Diabetes! How did you come up with the idea and what were some of the challenges you faced in trying to organize the event that first year?

CL:  I asked my dad if I could swim the walk (annual diabetes walk-a-thon) and he said no, I have to walk the walk. But then he asked me if I wanted to try to do a separate swim event….and I yelled YES! We didn’t have much time to plan it and we didn’t even have a pool to use until a week before the event. We were raising all this money and we didn’t even have a pool. My dad said – don’t worry, we will find a pool – and we did. We raised $9,000 and it was only me and my family and a few friends.

Kristy Kowal helps Carly with her cap as they prepare for the swim

Kristy Kowal helps Carly with her cap as they prepare for the swim

JG: What were you thinking when you heard that Kristy Kowal would be swimming side-by-side with you during your Swim for Diabetes these past two years? What was it like to swim with her?

CL: I was so excited, she is so nice! We are really good friends now and she is amazing, I love her. I want to be a teacher too when I grow up and she is a teacher too.

JG: What message do you hope to send to kids and adults about living with diabetes?

CL: One kid can make a difference. Find something you love and go for it. Don’t let diabetes or anything keep you down. It’s really hard but you can make a difference too….do the best you can.

Photo courtesy of John W. Wilchek, Jr.

Photo courtesy of John W. Wilchek, Jr.

JG: Besides swimming and advocating for diabetes, what do you like to do in your spare time?

CL: I take two dance classes, I love to dance. I love school with my friends and I like to play school at home with my dad.

Thanks, Carly, for your time. You are an inspiration and we wish you all the best, always! 

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