Corbeau, an American-born swimmer, is trying to keep the Dutch team on top

Corbeau, an American-born swimmer, is trying to keep the Dutch team on top

Kasper Garbo's body tells his story. The tattoos reveal the sporting promise he had for Dutch swimming, and his height measurements underline this. Born and raised in the U.S., he moved full-time to his grandparents' home country in Amsterdam last summer.

He explains that it's a choice for quality rather than quantity. In America he swam a lot of kilometers mainly during training sessions. Forty athletes had one coach. At Sloterparkbad it's all about technical refinement and he shares the coach's attention with just three others.

Economy on skills

“It's really a big difference. In America, when a swimmer gets injured or loses fun, there are many more to replace him. In the Netherlands they are careful about talent: more time, money and attention is paid to an individual.

Corbeau is 22 years old and no stranger. He has been playing for the Netherlands at a young age as he has made it easy for him to participate in international tournaments. He had to settle for a supporting role at the Tokyo Olympics, but that could be different in Paris.

His specialty is the 200m breaststroke, an event that requires a lot of content. That is why I am happy to have laid the foundation stone in the country of my birth. He feels he combines the best of both worlds. “My American coach is old-school: You have to swim as hard as you can in every practice, day in and day out. But at a certain point you get to a certain point, and the technical details are what take you further.

A potential area

Marc Faber, his coach in Amsterdam, describes him as 'a potential talent'. “Gasper has his partner with him. Two meters long, shoe size 50. It's really unique for a breast stroke. Because of its length, it can easily maintain speed under water. He's someone who can turn the tips into a constant change, so that they also stick to a high-tempo match. For example , he now uses the propulsion surfaces of his arms more effectively, making each stroke centimeter further forward.

The question is whether that ability will be gold-plated or cashed in at the World Cup in Doha. There are certainly medal chances, not least because of the lack of numbers one, two and three at the last global title. Corbeau went on to defeat his compatriot in the 200 and establish the name Arno Cumminga. He was also fastest in the semi-final on Thursday evening at 2.09.34. Third in the entire field. The final is Friday.

Sweat tattoos

Korbo understands Dutch, but still speaks English. He has four tattoos on his body. The first text he wrote was: 'Orange Mel'. He understands the surprised reaction. “During my first international for the Netherlands, they kept saying that. I got the message: keep respect high, try to win. It was the first exposure I ever learned.”

Also, the Olympic rings and the Dutch lion adorn his arm and shoulder. He has a Texas Longhorn on his ribs, representing where he went to college. No bald eagle? Never, says Corbeau. “The country is very divided these days. I would never choose something that could be interpreted politically. Give him a sporty statement like an 'orange top',' he laughs.

Steenbergen's national record

Marit Steenbergen has qualified for the World Cup finals with a Netherlands record in the 100m freestyle. In 52.53 seconds she bettered Femke Heemskerk's old top time from 2015 (52.69). Steenbergen (24) already won last year's world championship bronze at his favorite distance. This is his first national record. The final is Friday.

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