Femke Heemskerk Shows Fast Feet To The World: 1:54.68 Leaves Rest In Her Wake

The Feet of Femke Heemskerk - by Patrick B. Kraemer

Femke Heemskerk sent smoke off the water with a 1:54.68 Dutch record in the 200m freestyle at the SwimCup Eindhoven today. The time makes the 27-year-old the fourth fastest ever all suits, and third swiftest in textile suit.

Want to read more? Our Basic subscription package allows you to access
to all articles barring specific content for Premium and Business
members. Select which service best suits you. Thank you for your
support of independent journalism and quality coverage of world-class swimming.

Log In Register

Femke Heemskerk sent smoke off the water with a 1:54.68 Dutch record in the 200m freestyle at the SwimCup Eindhoven today. The time makes the 27-year-old the fourth fastest ever all suits, and third swiftest in textile suit.


Bad Anon

If only she can reproduce that swim at a championships final ie Kazan /Rio, in Shanghai 2011, she smoked a 1.55.54 in the semis only for Pellegrini to win the title in 1.55.58 (and side note: Franklin led off 800free relay in 1.55.06 at the same meet ). Great time, fantastic effort Femke, PLEASE save your best where it matters most. 1.54 will make Olympic /worlds podium comfortably!


I agree. Heemskerk unfortunately copied some of Australian swimmers’ bad habit by swimming scorching fast when it does not matter the most.

I hope she focuses on 100-200 in Rio and drop 50 to be fresh. She may not even make 50 final anyway.


Is Cseh finding his “second youth” – with Rio just around the corner?


Femke is a credit to our sport. Such a lovely person, leaves the fierce competition to the water, and has overcome disappointment to continue to get better with age. Having almost walked away from the sport I think she has refreshed perspective and will now be able to deliver individually on the world stage (as she did at world SC)…and she deserves the rewards.


Welcome the returning of real competition at 200m since Muffat-Schmitt duel. In absence of middle distance aces the title this year will be decided between super sprinters and supper long distance swimmer. To me it’s only Sjostrom who is capable now to challenge Pelegrini’s record. Her last year 1:53.64 at 4×200 relay, 4:06 at 400m and breathless 50 fly world record show her exceptional potentials to be superior at this distance if she of course decides to put time and efforts into it. Ledecky’s 1:54.36 in relay last year and half a second improvement at 100m this year may indicate with confidence that she can go under 1:55. Franklin’s 1:39.10 in yards shows how serious she is to defend the championship title. So with Sarah most likely withdrawing from competition, Katie having problems with tough schedule in Kazan and with Missy’s difficulties returning to long course the Femke’s prospective is very positive. Good for her. But what a weird way she swam yesterday. Nobody from elite swimmers has splits that strange. Make a chart from table below to see what I mean. She either has a lot of room for improvement or such a race is unique and may not be repeatable.
Ledecky 1:54.86 ( adjusted RT) 26.94 29.06 29.41 29.45
Franklin 1:54.51 relay(adj) 26.41 28.48 29.36 30.26
Schmitt 1:53.61 27.18 28.20 28.97 29.26
Sjostrom 1:54.04 relay(adj) 26.60 28.77 29.28 29.39
Heemskerk 1:54.68 27.26 29.70 28.87 28.85

Craig Lord

Yozhik – it looked like an attempt to keep the first 100 as easy as possible – and that worked on the clock. In a world champs and Olympic final, there’ll be no comfort of the lone race against the clock; the race and the racer will out, regardless of the pattern of things unfolding (Pellegrini – even Manaudou – 400m free, 2008, and many other such moments down the years, particularly in the women’s 200m free, an event in which I consider the field to be very open yet… a long way to go to Rio…)

Bad Anon

The ability of the top swimmers to swim their “own” race maybe the difference between being on the medal stand or being locked out. When the depth of an event reaches such levels where up to five potential finalists have the ability to swim 1.54 big names will be leaving empty handed, case in point of Hoff ‘s 1.55.78 American record in Beijing that still saw her losing out on a medal; Missy comes to mind; I’d say Franklins events in Kazan will be very competitive and matching BCN, 2013 6golds will be a tough mission


Graig – I should’ve not to use the words like “weird or strange” describing the race that made Femke #4 of all time at women’s 200 LCM. English is not my mother tongue and I may not feel correctly possible connotations. But following the mood of many discussions at this site and not being able to resist the temptation of making predictions 🙂 I decided to share my observations that could be of some interest to your audience. If a standard deviation of the time of top 100 swimmers at this distance is around 1% then one can with much confidence assume that we are dealing with the performance of very similar biomechanical systems and therefore one can expect the existence of optimal swimming technique and strategy. The optimal race that will of course slightly different between individual swimmers but not that much. When I see that two best swimmers – Sjostrom and Ledecky (sorry Katinka but your killos of medals are no match to the firework of their records that majority of us will not see broken by others to the end of our lives), two Grand Champs coming from the opposite specialties in swimming are showing identical style in racing 200m and their practically parallel split curves are closely approaching by shape and tangle the Allison Schmitt’s amazing record race in London then I’m assuming that that is it and can be used as a benchmark to measure performances of others. From the point of view of such “scientific” approach the Femke’s decision to swim first 100 not slow but very slow (57 sec against her PB of 52.69) looked very “weird” to me. She either carefully guards some secret, or doesn’t understand herself what’s going on right now within her body or was just entertaining spectators with a kind of close at the beginning race :)


Bad Anon – that’s what we like most in sport – something “own”, unpredictable and unexpected. But I would not characterize Femke’s amazing race as such. What was that? She was surprised by the result more than anybody else in pool. It looked like she was never even close to such time at practice. I am not sure that this “own” is repeatable. Where this “own” came from? Is it possible that after more than a decade of comparative swimming, spending infinite number of hours in pool and swimming thousands and thousands kilometers she suddenly discovered at the end of her career something “own” in technique and strategy that catapulted her to the top in ranks. Or that were her muscles that got more elastic and reflexive with age. Or her nerve and endocrine and respiratory systems found for no reason some better balance in harmony? Or it was just a sudden realization of the fact that a moment when there would be no tomorrow in her swimming career is standing already behind the door. Are we witnessing a swan song? I don’t know. But whatever her “own” is I so welcome it because it gives a lot of hopes and sense to many people. Who would care much about such race should it occur in her young years? But that her 27 that makes her achievements that valuable. We kind of tired of puberty performance spikes and don’t want women swimming to follow women gymnastic weirdness. Good luck Femke. I think she is simply in love 🙂

Leave a comment

Post a comment with your SwimVortex Account. Don't have a SwimVortex Account, Sign Up?

(*) Fields are required!