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, France
- Liege, Belgium
- Slupsk, Poland
- Aarschot, Belgium
- Neuchatel, Switzerland
- Miskolc, Hungary
- Tampere, Finland
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Hyvinkää, Finland
- Orlando, Florida, USA
This year, we’re headed to…
- Willemstad, Curaçao!
By Julia Galan
When Hyvinkaa’s Kaisla Kollanus travelled to Paris to participate in the first EU Swim series in 2006, she had no idea that the international swimming event would arrive in her hometown – hosted by her club – over nine years later. A sprint and mid-distance freestyler, Kaisla is now a rising junior at Villanova University, having made the decision to move to the United States for her college education and to swim for Villanova’s NCAA Division I team. Although Kaisla will not be able to attend the EU Swim in her hometown this year, she is excited to support Simmis Hyvinkaa and be there in spirit!
We recently sat down with Kaisla to discuss swimming, her move to the States, and some suggestions of places to see in Hyvinkaa.
JG: Kaisla, when and how did you first get involved in swimming? And what is your specialty stroke?
KK: I’m a sprint and mid-distance freestyler and also do sprint fly. I’ve been swimming for as long as I can remember. I started with swimming lessons at a local pool and then continued in their club team. Later on, I started to swim with Simmis Hyvinkaa as they could offer better opportunities to swim competitively.
JG: Right now you are swimming for and attending Villanova University – what year are you? How have you adjusted to living in the US and attending college here, and has it changed your overall attitude or perspective on life?
KK: I am halfway through my college career as I just finished my sophomore year here at Villanova. These two years have gone past super-fast and attending college in the states has been an exceptional experience. Adjusting to the life here took me quite a while and was rather problematic but looking back, it’s been worth every moment! I’m very grateful that I’ve had the chance to live abroad and see the world from a different perspective. Also, living in a different country has made me more independent and taught me a lot about myself and the world around me.
JG: So, how did you choose Villanova over other universities? Had you visited the US before?
KK: I had never been to the US before I flew over one day prior to the start of college orientation. Thus, deciding to study and swim here was one of the biggest decisions in my life. During my high school senior year, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to study after high school or where. So I applied to a couple of universities in Finland but also started looking at schools in the US, as a few of my swimmer friends were studying there and that seemed like a great adventure. I was looking for good academics as well as a great swimming program, and Villanova sounded like a good match. I also liked the small size of the school, the location, and its values. One of the swim coaches visited Finland and I had the chance to talk with him in person and learn more about the university and what Villanova has to offer. Everything I heard sounded awesome and as I later on talked to more people at Villanova I became convinced that this was the right place for me.
JG: How have your family, friends and teammates in Hyvinkaa supported you on this journey in swimming and in life?
KK: I would not have gotten this far without my family and friends. They have always been there for me whenever I’ve needed something. Even when I’m far from home, I know that I can always stay in touch with them and they are ready to support me in whatever I decide to do. I haven’t been practicing with Simmis Hyvinkaa in a long time but whenever I get the chance to go back home, I’m always welcome to train with them whether it’s just for one practice or for a longer time. That’s been a great advantage and I always feel like I’ve returned home whenever I swim in the Sveitsi pool.
JG: What has been your most rewarding experience so far and what are your goals for the future?
KK: Throughout the years I’ve learned that swimming gives so much more than just the results or awards or medals you can achieve. So, it’s hard to mention just one experience that would have been beyond others. Rather, I would say that it’s all the friends I’ve made, all the training camps, all the places I’ve visited, and all the good races among everything else. But if I had to choose, I would say that the most rewarding experiences have been the chance to represent Finland internationally and wining a Finnish Championship title back in 2011. I haven’t set any clear goals for the future as at this point. I just want to enjoy swimming – make the most out of every practice and see how far I can go with that.
JG: That’s a great attitude to have! On that note, what advice would you give to international swimmers who might want to live and swim in another country, whether for college or otherwise?
KK: First and foremost: DO IT! It’s most likely a once-in-a-lifetime chance and even if it’s not always easy or enjoyable you will get to see the world and do things that you would never do otherwise. Living abroad often times forces you to step outside your comfort zone and, in my opinion, that is one of the best ways to learn more about yourself and the world around you.
JG: And back to swimming, do you have a favorite workout set and/or a drill that you’d be willing to share?
KK: One of my favorite drills is reverse freestyle aka freestyle feet first. It requires a lot of coordination and and you must feel comfortable in the water, both of which are important for any swimmer, I think.
JG: What do you like to do when you’re not swimming?
KK: When I’m not swimming, studying keeps me busy for sure. Besides that, I love the outdoors, hanging out with my friends, and playing sports.
JG: You participated in the very first EU Swim in Paris back in 2006 with the Simmis Hyvinkaa. How do you feel now that the EU Swim is coming to your hometown?
KK: I can clearly remember my trip to Paris to the first EU Swim meet – it was so much fun! I’m very excited that Simmis Hyvinkaa got to host the EU swim this year and hope that Hyvinkaa can offer local and international swimmers great experiences and long-lasting memories.
JG: And on a related note, what are your favorite things to do in and around Hyvinkaa? And what would you suggest our participants take the time to see and do while they are in Finland?
KK: Hyvinkaa is surrounded by beautiful nature, and there are wonderful running trails right behind the Sveitsi pool. Along the trails you can find your way to the Sveitsi skiing hill. Of course, you can’t ski in September but the top of the hill provides you a great view over Hyvinkaa and its surroundings. Also, the Hyvinkaa church is worth checking out – I think it has quite a unique architecture.
Thanks, Kaisla, and wishing you much success as you continue your college experience at Villanova!