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Maarten van der Weijden

Maarten van der Weijden
Personal information
NameMaarten van der Weijden
Full nameMaarten van der Weijden
StrokesOpen Water
ClubNationaal Zweminstituut Eindhoven
Height2.02 m (6 ft 7.6 in)
Weight93 kg (205 lb)

     Home | Swimmer | Maarten van der Weijden

Maarten van der Weijden (born 31 March 1981) is a Dutch long distance and marathon swimmer born in Alkmaar.

Van der Weijden was known as a promising swimming talent in his youth, becoming Dutch national champion at the 1500 m freestyle (1998 (short course and long course), 1999 (lc) and 2000 (lc)), 400 m freestyle (1999 (sc+lc) and 2000 (lc)) and 5 km open water (2000). He also participated at the 1999 European Junior Championships and the 2000 Open Water World Championships. In 2001 he was confronted with leukemia and his career was likely to be over. Fighting against cancer he made his comeback in 2003. He qualified for the Open Water World Championships in Barcelona and won another three Dutch titles; 800 m freestyle (sc+lc) and 1500 m freestyle (lc). He became seventh over 10 and 25 kilometres at the 2004 World Open Water Championships and added a Dutch title at the 800 m freestyle (lc) and 25 km open water.

Later in 2004 he swam across the IJsselmeer in 4:20.58 hours, breaking the former record by almost 15 minutes to collect 50,000 Euros which he donated for cancer research. In 2005 he won the Dutch title over 400 m freestyle (sc) for the second time in his career. He finished in fifth position at the World Open Water Championships over 10 km and sixth over 25 km. He also won three World Cup meetings in Ismaila, Al Fujeirah and Dubai. In 2006 he won a silver medal at the 2006 European Aquatics Championships over 10 km.

Van der Weijden had his own website named "Maarten van der Weijden zwemt tegen kanker" (Maarten van der Weijden swims against cancer) where he informed his fans about his life and his career. He also collected more money to invest for cancer research. However the website and the project were set on hold as of 30 June 2006. He won another World Cup race in Rosario, Argentina in January 2007. At the end of the World Cup calendar he finished in second position overall and during the World Championship over 10 km he finished seventh.

His aim was to become World Champion and he fulfilled this aim when he won the 25 km at the 2008 World Championships in Seville. He also won a bronze medal at the 5 km there and became fourth at the 10 km. This result qualified him for the 10 km open water marathon race at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. There he ended up winning the gold medal on August 21, narrowly edging out David Davies of Great Britain.

He announced the end of his professional swimming career during his acceptance speech as Dutch Sportsman of the year.

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