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Athletes

Femke
Heemskerk
NetherlandsNetherlands, NED
Female
Swimming

Biography

Further Personal Information

Date of birth
21 September 1987
Height
180 cm
Residence
Eindhoven, NED
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
Dutch, English, French
Higher education
Sport Management - Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences: Netherlands

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age nine at the Z&PC Alkemade club in the Netherlands.
Why this sport?
She was inspired by the results of Pieter van den Hoogenband and Inge de Bruijn at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. In the same year she met coach Sjaak Juffermans, who saw she was a talented swimmer. "I really liked being in the water, even before I started swimming. I love the sensation of the water and the feeling that you can pull yourself forward."
Name of coach
Marcel Wouda [national], NED

International Debut

Year
2005
Competing for
Netherlands
Tournament
World Championships
Location
Montreal, QC, CAN

General Interest

Nicknames
Femmie, Fem (Athlete, 11 Mar 2007)
Hobbies
Dining, reading, music, dancing, spending time with family and friends. (Athlete, 10 Jul 2015)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning a gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. (Athlete, 10 Jul 2015)
Most influential person in career
Coach Marcel Wouda. (Athlete, 10 Jul 2015)
Hero / Idol
Dutch swimmer Marleen Veldhuis, Swiss tennis player Roger Federer. (Athlete, 10 Jul 2015; excellesports.com, 20 Jun 2016)
Injuries
She was affected by shoulder, groin and knee injuries ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (evajinek.kro-ncrv.nl, 27 Jun 2017)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
She always wets her suit before a race and makes sure her starting block is dry. (Athlete, 10 Jul 2015)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"It always seems impossible, until it's done." (Athlete, 10 Jul 2015)
Awards and honours
She was named Best Sportswoman of Amsterdam in 2008 and 2009, and she was named a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion in 2009. (femkeheemskerk.nl, 02 Dec 2010)

She was part of the 4x100m freestyle relay team that was named the 2009 Dutch Sports Team of the Year. (femkeheemskerk.nl, 01 Jan 2015; olympischsporterfgoed.nl, 01 Jan 2015)
Ambitions
To win individual medals at the world championships and the Olympic Games. (leidschdagblad.nl, 14 Apr 2017)
Other information
SWITCHING COACHES
In 2015 she moved to France to train with coach Philippe Lucas, a move she admitted was a potential gamble so close to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. After not qualifying for the final of the 100m freestyle or 200m freestyle in Rio de Janeiro, she decided to split with coach Lucas in August 2016. In January 2017 she announced that she would begin working with Marcel Wouda, having previously been coached by him earlier in her career. "I used the period after the Olympic Games in Rio to think where and with whom I want to continue my career. I am very excited about our cooperation and we are confident we will get the most out of it." (nos.nl, 23 Jan 2017, 22 Aug 2016, 09 Aug 2016; pedalamagazine.nl, 18 Nov 2016; ad.nl, 22 Aug 2016)

BREAKING THE DROUGHT
She was a member of the Dutch women's 4x100m freestyle relay team that won gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the first Dutch gold medal in the event since 1936. (olympischsporterfgoed.nl, 01 Oct 2012)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
She has served as an ambassador for Right to Play, an organisation that uses sport and play to enhance child development in disadvantaged areas around the world. She has visited Right to Play projects in Rwanda and Kenya. (Athlete, 10 Jul 2015; righttoplay.nl, 25 May 2015)