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July 17, 2013 | Europe Eurasia: Netherlands

Open Water Swimming - a new sport for Europe Eurasia

By Maureen Rabbitt

Thanks to the SO Netherlands staff and volunteers including Natascha Bruers, Wendy Scholten for their support as well as Ann McLindon, Chair of the Open Water Resources Team.

15 participants from 13 countries took part in the first ever European Open Water Coaches Seminar in Zeist, The Netherlands. Representatives from across Europe Eurasia participated – from as far north as Murmansk in Russia to the sunnier climes of Tel Aviv, Israel and Malta. The inclement weather did not stop three Special Olympics athletes from Special Olympics The Netherlands bravely taking part in the practical sessions which involved mini-competitions at the local lake. Open Water Swimming is the "youngest" Special Olympics sport to be included amongst Special Olympics’ offering of training and competition in a total of 32 sports. The initiative is led by the effort of former athlete and SO Board Member Kester Edwards as well as Aldis Berzins. Due to the success of the international seminar, Special Olympics Netherlands is planning to organise and host the first ever European Open Water Swimming Competition in 2014.

About Maureen Rabbitt: I am Communications & Brand Director for Special Olympics Europe Eurasia.

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