Classic Marty Veen, An Unselfish Visionary In The Netherlands

After a long career as an open water swimmer, Marty Veen of the Netherlands founded the Scheerwolde Classic Swim. A long-time member of the the Dutch (KNZB) Technical Open Water Committee (TOWC) for over 20 years, he will retire on November 28th.

As the innovative chairman of the TOWC, Marty has always been known to put the interests of swimmers first and foremost and has similarly acted positively and proactively for the open water swimming coaches, judges, referees, safety, organizations, the federation. He expertly maintained a fine balance among these players in the Dutch open water swimming world and initiated and/or coordinated the following changes:

1. National Championships. This event was increased from 2K and 3K swims to 10K under Marty’s leadership. The winner gets 300 points per kilometer and all swimmers are ranked accordingly.

2. Promotion of 5K, 10K and 25 distances. Dutch open water swimming has traditionally focused on 2K and 3K swims. Marty was instrumental in getting the
5K, 10K and 25K events promoted and incorporated into the national championships.

3. Expansion. One of Marty’s first innovations of his tenure was the start of the Dutch National Championships Long Distance and Marathon Swimming. The first was in 1989 with 5K freestyle and 5K breaststroke races. Later, the 10K was added as well as distances for juniors and Masters. The 15-25K national championship marathon swims have been held since 1992 with the last several taking place at the IJsselmeerzwemmarathon.

4. Ensuring Quality Events. Marty always knew that quality events were key. He implemented an observer system where referees observed swims, but they did not officiate. They watched and judged the safety procedures and the officials in action. Competitions that were deemed to require improvement were advised to make changes or withdraw from the national competition.

5. Calendar Meeting. The yearly meeting to determine the optimal meet calendar with everyone’s best long-term interests in mind.

6. Open Water Congress. The annual race organizers’ meeting has developed into a congress for swimmers, coaches, organizers and officials/judges.

7. Open Water Time Trials. Since 1992, he experimented with the concept of a time trial and eventually incorporated it into the national championships.

8. Open Water Yearbook. Marty initiated the Open Water Yearbook in 1988. It started as a brochure that had all the information on a swimmer before they enter a competition. It published every year and has grown out to be the primary open water information source.

9. International Competition. Participation in the European and World Championship events became a priority with Marty. He work was highlighted in Hoorn when the LEN Cup competition and the European Youth Championships were held in 2010.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones