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Ferry Weertman: The Olympic and European champion aims for gold in Balatonfüred

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Ferry Weertman won two gold medals at the 2014 European Aquatics Championships in Berlin, followed by a third one at the 2016 European Open Water Championships in Hoorn, finished first at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and now his goal is to win his first gold at the FINA World Championships in 2017 in Balatonfüred.

Dutch swimming legends Maarten van der Weijden and Pieter van den Hoogenband played a key role in Ferry Weertman’s decision to prefer open water swimming. Van der Weijden won the first Olympic open water competition ever in 2008, van Hoogenband was the commentator in the Dutch television, and his enthusiasm really impressed Weertman.

Ferry Weertman’s story, however, started much earlier, he was regularly taken to baby swimming by her mother, and he fell in love with water. After plenty of national trophies he won numerous youth competitions in Europe, but the big breakthrough arrived in 2014, when he won two gold medals at the European Aquatics Championships in Berlin. He became the first Dutch open water swimmer who managed to win gold in the Olympic 10 km event at a European Championships. Unsurprisingly, he was voted European open water swimmer of the year by LEN after that. 

Weertman was one of the favourites of the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, where he finished second behind American Jordan Wilimovsky and ahead of Spiros Gianniotis of Greece over 10 km. He won silver in the team event also with compatriots Marcel Schouten and Sharon van Rouwendaal.

Weertman won the gold medal at the 2016 European Open Water Swimming Championships in Hoorn and at the 2016 Olympics in a dramatic race, too. Gianniotis finished second only one arm’s length behind the winner.

‘I have never been to Hungary, but I've heard it's a beautiful country and everybody likes the open water swimming World Cup at the Balaton. Unfortunately, I have never taken part in that, but I can’t wait to go there for the FINA World Championships.’

The men’s 10 km competition will take place on 18 July, while the team event on 20 July in Balatonfüred, presumably with the participation of Ferry Weertman.

FERRY WEERTMAN

Born: Naarden (Netherlands), June 27, 1992

Medal record:

Olympic champion (2016 Rio de Janeiro, 10 km)

Three-time European champion (2014 Berlin, 10 km and team’s event; 2016 Hoorn, 10 km)

Two-time FINA World vice-champion (2015 Kazan, 10 km and team’s event)