After a long period without international competitions, part of the Dutch swimming team can finally compete with the world top again in the coming weeks.
Kira Toussaint, one of the swimmers who is in Budapest for the International Swimming League (ISL), is curious about the state of the competition.
"Compared to other swimmers, we Dutch have been lucky."
"I can tell I love training every day for six months, but that's not the case."
In no uncertain terms, 24-year-old Toussaint already expressed the hope in June that she could swim competitions again as soon as possible.
Four months later, the backstroke specialist sees her wish come true in Budapest, where the ISL will be completed from Friday to 21 November.
"It is very nice to feel the tension that we have been missing for so long", Toussaint says from the Hungarian capital in conversation with NU.nl.
"In the summer I did participate in the Hengelo Long Course, but that was not really an inspiring tournament. Now I can swim against the best in the world again."
The last international appearance of Toussaint and many fellow countrymen was at the FINA Champions Swim Series in early January.
During the peak of the first wave of the corona crisis, the Dutch team was also unable to train in the bath for weeks, but Toussaint is now discovering in Budapest that her suffering is relative.
"I hear stories from foreign swimmers who have not been able to train in the water for two or three months. In that respect we were really lucky in the Netherlands," said Toussaint, who planned a ten-day holiday to move after the Hengelo Long Course. and not having to swim for a while.
"I really needed that to recharge my mind mentally. Normally you always live somewhere, but recently I had to get my motivation from somewhere else. After that holiday we went to a training camp in Rome with the Amsterdam group. and I have a very good feeling about it. Physically I am ready for it. "
Kira Toussaint is happy to be able to swim in competitions again in the coming weeks. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Kira Toussaint is happy to be able to swim in competitions again in the coming weeks.
(Photo: Pro Shots)
Strict rules at bubble in Budapest
The ISL is a competition founded in 2019 in which top swimmers from all over the world compete against each other as a team.
In addition to Toussaint (London Roar), the Netherlands is represented by Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Thom de Boer, Valerie van Roon (all Team Iron), Tamara van Vliet and Femke Heemskerk (Energy Standard Paris).
Heemskerk will probably travel to Budapest later.
Toussaint does not mind having to sit in a bubble in Budapest for the coming weeks.
"I also fully saw the press conference of Mark Rutte on Tuesday. If you see the situation in the Netherlands, it is not so bad to be in Hungary now," said the Dutch record holder in the 50 and 100 meters backstroke.
Moreover, the organization behind the ISL is not taking any half measures to keep the swimming bubble in Budapest free from corona.
The swimmers had to have themselves tested for the COVID-19 virus before leaving for Hungary and on arrival and from now on they will be tested every five days.
"It's all very tightly arranged here," says Toussaint.
"Each team is transported by two buses, you have to wear a mouth mask in almost all places and the pool is changed regularly. Furthermore, everyone has to eat at their own table and everyone has their own room, which is quite special in the swimming world."
Toussaint, who will take action for the first time with her London Roar team on Sunday and Monday, has not set any concrete performance goals for herself.
"For me it will soon be about the execution; that I can swim well again under pressure. Then I will see what my time is, but that is not the most important. I especially want to race again."