Water is the ultimate place for exercise

11 Mar 2020 ,

Water can be very soothing. Under water there is complete silence, above water you hear the nature around you. Water – in its fluid or solid form – is the ultimate place for exercise.

Sophie Tooten (22) student Medicine

‘When I first heard someone mention competition rowing I thought: What kind of crazy people train eight to ten times a week? But I discovered I really enjoy rowing and I’m good at it. After a selection round, I started taking part in competition rowing in my second year. I’m now in my fourth year, and I have to set some priorities. My studies come first, then rowing, and then everything else. During the racing season, I can’t always go to my parents at the weekend. My friends and family have to understand this.’

‘Rowing combines a number of elements. It’s both an endurance and a strength sport. We don’t just train on the boat; we also do spinning and train on land. There’s also an important mental aspect to it. You have to push yourself further than your body can handle at first and really explore your physical limits. Since rowing is a real student sport, everyone starts at the same level, and that little bit of extra effort can make all the difference.’

‘It’s very quiet on the water. You’re acutely aware of the surrounding nature. Another advantage is that I notice I have lots more energy and discipline because I train so much. Since the end of my year as a board member for Phocas, which meant me spending a lot of time on shore, I can feel I’m getting a lot fitter again.’

Tim Gulpen. Photo: Duncan de Fey

Tim Gulpen (25), student Public administration.

‘I was diving in South Africa last year. We came across a school of sixty or seventy dolphins. It was incredible. The cacophony of their clicking and all those dolphins around you – these are the
moments you do it for. I like to go on group diving holidays, and I’ve been to Egypt and the Philippines. These are the real highlights: we do three diving sessions or more a day.’

‘Two years ago, I joined the Kaaiman diving team in Nijmegen. In summer we dive every week, in winter less frequently. I also give snorkelling lessons.’

‘Diving isn’t a difficult sport, but you have to be comfortable under water. The water is all around you: above, below and to the side. When you’re calm, you use less air and you can stay underwater longer. It’s a mindset. When I’m consciously busy diving, I’m completely calm. It’s quite meditative actually. Under water, I’m completely relaxed.’

‘For me diving is a way to escape the ‘student bubble’. Because I’m a member of a regular diving association, I meet people of all ages from Nijmegen and I get hear about what goes on outside student life in the city. We share the same hobby.’

Iris Willemsen. Photo: Duncan de Fey

Iris Willemsen (23), student Communication science

‘When I first discovered skating on the ice rink in Deventer, I was nine years old. I now skate at a relatively high level. I’m a member of Lacustris, a really great student skating association. I also
train with another team and I take part in races at weekends. Going fast on the ice is the best thing ever. You have to make sure everything is right: your technique, your timing and your strength.
My favourite is speed skating, although ice hockey also sounds great and I’d love to try it. Figure skating doesn’t appeal to me much – I don’t have the elegance it requires.’

‘I enjoy watching skating races, for example during the Olympic Games. I get up early to make sure I don’t miss anything. I don’t know whether I’ll ever reach this kind of level, but I still really enjoy it. Sometimes I teach skating to international students from warmer countries. It’s really fun to introduce them to such a traditional Dutch sport.’

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