The coronavirus pandemic has left elite athletes with an empty sporting calendar. How long that will last is anybody’s guess. Who are the elite sports students at the University of Groningen? How are they coping with the situation and how are they staying fit? Today we catch up with swimmer Alinda Dingshoff.
‘My name is Alinda Dingshoff. I’m 19 and I live in Hoogeveen. I study Human Movement Sciences and am currently in my second year. When I was younger, my sister and I used to try out lots of sports and we’d do them for a while. One of those sports was swimming, which I started when I was eight years old – and am still doing now! I like sports in general and enjoy being able to push myself to the limit. I really like water sports and swimming is one of them, of course. Swimming is a very technical sport, but stamina and strength are also very important. So far, I’ve spent my entire swimming career at ZPC Hoogeveen. Since 2017 I’ve also been a member of Team SpeedoNL. I’ve won 18 medals at national competitions (both youth and senior level), 13 of which were individual medals.’
‘I’m rather enjoying it. I train in the morning and in the evening at half past five so I can still make it to most of my lectures. It’s great that all kinds of things can be arranged if need be, if I have a training camp or a competition, for example. I also decided to extend my studies by a year to try to reduce the stress a little.’
‘I chose this degree programme because I’m interested in movement sciences, but I’m not sure what I want to do after graduation. I have goals and ambitions that I want to achieve in sport, of course, but I prefer to keep these to myself. Above all, I think it’s important to keep improving myself and that, at the end of the day, I have the feeling that I made the most of it.’
‘All swimming pools are closed due to the crisis, so I can’t train in the pool. All of the competitions have also been cancelled for the rest of the season, which actually means that the long course competition (races in a 50m pool) will be skipped entirely. That’s really disappointing because I’m better at long course. And I prefer it to short course swimming. So of course the pandemic is having a huge impact on my life, but at the moment it’s much more important that we come out the other side in one piece and that we all stay fit and healthy. Staying fit is obviously really important right now. For the sport and for your general health, but also for your general mood. I do flexibility/mobility training every day and most days I also do endurance and strength training. In most of the training sessions I focus on the core and shoulders. I also try to go skating or for a run now and then, but I have bad knees so I can’t do that very often. We’ve just bought a swimming pool and an elastic band so that I can swim a little in the garden so I don’t lose that all important feeling of being in the water. Unfortunately the water is really very cold, so I can’t stay in there for long. But it’s better than nothing.’
‘I think it’s especially important that you do something you actually like. It’s much easier to actually start exercising if you decide beforehand what you’re going to do and set a fixed time to do it. But above all, be creative!'
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