Toussaint is happy again in America: ‘I have already become a better swimmer’ | Now

A lack of entertainment led swimmer Kira Toussaint to move from the familiar Sloterparkbad in Amsterdam to the American Knoxville. In a land of limitless possibilities, the backstroke specialist has blossomed into full bloom in just a few months. “I thought: If I want to do this for years, I have to enjoy it.”

Toussaint’s ‘American Dream’ had no hotel, box spring or other luxuries. The 28-year-old Dutchman has been sleeping on the floor at his friend’s house since May. She borrowed a mat from her trainer, Matt Kredich, who she trained with between 2015 and 2017 when she was a student at the University of Tennessee.

Longing for a new inspiration, Toussaint was glad to find an American roof over his head. Her departure from Amsterdam – after five years under coach Marc Faber where she wanted something new – was a leap of faith, but turned out to be a bull’s eye.

A few months were already enough for Toussaint to fully recover the lost pleasure in swimming. The daughter of Olympic swimming champion Jolanda de Rovere trains with a very large group of backstroke specialists. Plus, the American coaching culture fits her well.

“In America, if I have an idea to try something like a slightly different technique in back crawling, it’s immediately said: Let’s do itToussaint says in a chat with NU.nl ahead of the European Long Course Championships starting in Rome on Thursday.

“It’s a big difference in the Netherlands. An expert from New Zealand came recently and he knows a lot about how to recover after training. It was very instructive, so of course I asked him questions. I like it here. And I thought: I’ve been doing this for years. I want to make fun of it, if you will.”

‘The best sport is the worst investment’

Toussaint recently decided to continue training in the US until the 2024 Olympics as the first few months of ‘Bag Graalland’ went so well in the US. In between, he flies back to the Netherlands when major tournaments such as this month’s European Championships are scheduled.

Still, the move to America remains a gamble from a sporting perspective, as Toussaint knows. The reigning European champion in the 50m backstroke enjoyed his breakthrough under Faber. She won six individual European titles, broke the world record in the 50m backstroke (short course) in 2020 and swam her first Olympic final in Tokyo last summer.

There is no guarantee that the American adventure will help her achieve greater success. For now, Toussaint can only create the impression that everything is going well. Time will tell if the results support that sentiment.

“I always say: A great sport is a very bad investment. We invest a lot through training, but you never know if it will pay off. However, I am sure that this move is the right one. I can say that I am. VS has already become a great swimmer. .We’ll just have to wait and see,” says Toussaint.

Kira Toussaint has six individual European Championship titles to her name.


Kira Toussaint has six individual European Championship titles to her name.

Kira Toussaint has six individual European Championship titles to her name.

Photo: Good pictures

Toussaint acknowledges that the situation has changed

Eyes have recently focused more on Toussaint. Due to the swimming retirements of stalwarts Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Femke Heemskerk, the native Amstelveens (along with Arno Kamminga) has become the most prominent face of the Dutch swimming team. Toussaint’s position has changed and the humble swimmer still has to get used to it.

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“I once saw an article where I was called the standard bearer of Dutch swimming. I don’t necessarily feel the pressure because of this, but it takes some getting used to. On the other hand: if you look at the World Cup, I’m the only Dutch woman who swam in the final at the Olympics.

At the World Long Course Championships in June, Toussaint did not expect much of himself due to the change in training environment. Nevertheless, he reached two individual World Cup finals in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. He hopes to reap the benefits of his switch for the first time at the European Championships.

“I feel some extra pressure because I told myself I want to peak at the European Championships,” admits Toussaint. “Of course I want to defend my title in the 50 back and win a medal in the 100 back. In addition, we have a good chance to win the 4×100 meter relay with the mixed relay team. It’s very busy with a lot of key players. It’s a short race, but it’s amazing. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I live.”

Individual European Championship program Kira Toussaint

  • August 13: 50m Backstroke ( heats and semi-finals)
  • August 14: 50m Backstroke (Final)
  • August 15: 100m Backstroke ( heats and semi-finals)
  • August 16: 100m Backstroke (Final)

The European Championships long course starts at 9.00 each day. The evening program, with semi-finals and finals, starts at 6 pm.

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