“I always step in and get out of the water with a smile: what more could a person want?”

“I always step in and get out of the water with a smile: what more could a person want?”

Swimming is fun, anytime and anywhere. In fact, it gives an extra dimension to your life. Whether it’s in the indoor pool, outdoor pool, lake, or springs: diving is refreshing and gives you energy. That’s what Kild de Reuter and Jim Janssen think, who found each other about 10 years ago in love with swimming. To share this they wrote Happy Swimmers: In Search of the Science Behind Refreshing Diving. Top scientists speak from their experiences, swimmers share their passion and a number of beautiful swimming spots are highlighted. Interesting for people who are passionate about swimming and for those who like to swim. But what is the happiness of the swimmer for the authors themselves? Kjeld de Reuter tells.

Photo: Kild de Reuter

ice swimmer

As a graphic designer, Kjeld de Ruyter spends a lot of time behind his screen, so about 10 years ago he decided to improve his life and start swimming more. Swimming technique was not optimal at first, but now he is a trained ice swimmer who swims daily in open water. “I started with swimming lengths in the indoor pool, then moved to open water in the spring and summer and since 2019 have been swimming there all year.” Although the temperatures drop, De Ruyter always comes with happy water outside. “Of course it’s not without risks and you have to be careful. If you miss your swim stroke, it’s time to get out. Also make sure your clothes are in the right order so you can get back into your clothes quickly and eat something warm to keep warm. Never go alone, and always Someone’s with you in case something goes wrong.”

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Swimming pool

In addition, De Ruyter still loves to go to the pool. “Not only to improve my technique, but also to work on the specific skills you need in the open water. The formula is so great because you can train in an indoor pool in a safe place. Swimming pools are also much needed for open water swimmers.” He is also a lifeguard in the Amsterdam Rescue Brigade. “I always enjoy swimming and this way I do something useful with it too. It gives me real satisfaction.” The love for swimming is obvious, and as a graphic designer, he not only talks about it, but he also loves capturing it on the photo. Gradually, the idea to show the most beautiful swimming places, which de Ruyter himself depicted, arose out of the water. “When you’re in the water, you see the world around you in a completely different way.” Kyra Wijnker, for example, recounts how she dived into the North Sea from Huisduinen in the northern part of Noord-Holland and swims among crabs, seagrass, and sometimes even a seal spot. Facing Claudine Janssen in the quiet serenity of Weerribben and with a view of the authentic houses feels like an extra in Anton Beck’s painting. De Ruyter is also pleased with the scientists’ stories. “As an avid swimmer, I know all kinds of things happen in your body, but I’ve also heard many interesting, eye-opening things.”

gut instinct

For De Ruyter, swimmer’s happiness is about the sheer feeling of happiness he experiences when swimming in nature, in every season. “This requires training and discipline, but I always feel good in the water. Even after hours of swimming and that gives a lot of energy. It is also a mental sport, especially ice swimming.” According to Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt, one of the scientists, it is important to know your limits when preventing cold shock. Your body regulates itself a lot and everything is started. After getting used to cold baths, you are no longer shocked – or greatly reduced shock – by the cold. But you should always be on the lookout for signs and trust your intuition. “Swimming is a balance between body and mind. That’s what makes it so special. It’s not necessarily about swimming faster or longer. Everyone can swim and some go a little further and that’s a complete experience.” De belong? Ruyter to the last group. “I always go in and out of the water with a smile. What more does a man want?”

the book swimmer happiness Searching for the science behind the new diving It can be found at your local book store.

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