Sunday, August 06, 2006

VDH's new training facilities

(video and slide shows at end of article)

Michael Klim raised an eyebrow or two when he was invited to the old Tongelreep pool in Eindhoven for the Dutch Open last year. The audience was seated on improvised bleeches right on the edge of the pool and the building seemed quite old. This was where his friend Pieter van den Hoogenband and Jacco Verhaeren laid the foundation of VDH's successes? Coming from Australia, where top swimmers have access to the best facilities, he was quite stunned. Although he had heard stories of other champions before who started out in run down pools or not even having access to a 50m pool, but had to train in a 25m one instead.

VDH didn't really care about what his beloved pool looked like. If he needed a change of scenery and some high-tech facilities, his coach Jacco Verhaeren would set up a training camp for the team. The only downside to it was the recreational function of the Tongelreep. After all, they had to make a buck or two to keep the place going. Not being able to work on the hours they needed, or extend a training session to try out some things, was becoming a problem. They could also do with the underwater cameras and other gadgets VDH's competition abroad had access to.

But help was on its way! The Tongelreep would be largely extended. The new facilities would also house a separate traning pool for the professional team of Van den Hoogenband (NZE).

And here they are... VDH's new training facilities! He and his team have been training there in the past months and the benefits are obvious. Eventhough the entire complex will not be fully completed until September 8th and the official opening is scheduled for early 2007, the training pool is up and running.

The new swim stadium will be one of the most advanced, if not the most advanced, facilities of Europe. They will be capable of hosting large events, such as the European Championships in 2008, with a 10-lane 50m pool, an 8-lane 25m diving pool and 3.000 seats for spectators. VDH's training pool is a 4-lane 25m pool which is equipped with a Vision training system, operating 13 cameras for extensive analyses. This is unique in Europe. The complex also houses several recreational facilities and outdoor pools.

Here's a promotional video which shows clips of VDH and the new swim stadium. Be patient... the first half of the video has some shots of VDH (but focusses on sports facilities in Eindhoven) and as from approx. the second half of the video you will get a nice impression of the complex.


Here are some actual photos of Pieter's training pool, arranged in two slide shows.

CLICK HERE FOR SLIDE SHOW 1 - Photos of VDH's training pool.

CLICK HERE FOR SLIDE SHOW 2 - Photos of the small gym, adjacent to the pool. This is where Pieter pumps iron!


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