Arena signs European open water champions Ferry Weertman and Sharon van Rouwendaal

20 NOVEMBER 2014

Tolentino, 18 November 2014 – Arena, one of the world’s leading brands in aquatic sports, is pleased to announce they have signed new sponsorship deals with Dutch open water swimmers Ferry Weertman and Sharon van Rouwendaal. Both the 22-year-old Weertman and 21-year-old van Rouwendaal are firmly established as their country’s number one open water swimmers, and earlier this year won the 10km open water men’s, women’s and team titles at the 2014 European Aquatics Championships.

Having started swimming as a small child and competing from the age of six, Weertman won his first medal at the Dutch Championships in 2008, and within a short period established himself as a strong middle and long distance freestyle swimmer within the Dutch ranks. In 2010 he decided to concentrate on open water, and the following year at the European Youth Championships in Navia, Spain, he won his first international medal in the discipline, a 5km bronze. His first senior international open water gold (5km) came in June, 2013 at the French Open Championships in Canet en Roussillon, and he followed this up with an impressive 10km race at the World Championships in Barcelona, where he finished sixth, just 8,5 seconds behind the winner. While focusing on open water as his principal discipline, Weertman also continued to compete in the pool, participating in 400 and 1500 freestyle at the 2013 European Short Course Championships in Herning, Denmark, and breaking Pieter Van Den Hoogenband’s 12-year-old national 400m freestyle record (SC) in a time of 3:42.19.

Like Weertman, van Rouwendaal has tasted success in both the pool and open water. Having spent a large part of her youth in France, she returned to the Netherlands in 2008, and promptly won her first Dutch titles in 800 and 1500 freestyle. She won her first international medals the same year at the European Junior Championships in Belgrade, winning the 1500 freestyle in a new Dutch senior record time, and taking silver medals in 200, 400, and 800 freestyle. The following year she won the European Junior 400 freestyle title in Prague, and in 2010 won her first senior international medals at Eindhoven’s European SC Championships, where she finished second in the 100 and 200 backstroke events. At the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, van Rouwendaal won the 200 backstroke bronze medal, setting a new Dutch record, and helped the country’s 4x100 freestyle relay team set a new national mark as they finished fifth at the 2012 London Olympics. She returned to the European SC Championship podium in 2013 with an 800 freestyle bronze in Herning, Denmark.

Both Weertman and van Rouwendaal have enjoyed highly successful years in 2014. For Weertman, gold medals came in March at Cancun’s 15km Grand Prix, and a 5km-10km gold double followed at the French Open Championships in June. Both athletes excelled at the European Championships in Berlin, where they were victorious in the mens’ and women’s 10km open water events, and with Marcel Schouten won the 5km team event. Van Rouwendaal also claimed silver medals in the individual 5km open water and 400 freestyle events, finished fifth in 800 freestyle, and set new Dutch records in 400, 800, and 1500 freestyle. Weertman also made the finals of the 800 freestyle and 4x200 freestyle relay, helping to set a new national record with the Dutch team as they finished fifth.

The deals were announced at arena’s bi-annual sales convention last week in Rotterdam, where the company’s 2015 Fall-Winter swimwear collection was unveiled. The convention featured special guests from the Dutch national swimming team, who took to the catwalk as part of the fashion show introducing the collection. Aside from Weetman himself, participants included arena-sponsored athletes Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Inge Dekker, Joeri Verlinden and Joost Reijns, along with national squad members Maud van de Meer, Kyle Stolk, Esmee Vermeulen, Moniek Nijhuis, and Jesse Puts.

Weertman and van Rouwendaaljoin open water swimmers Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, legend Thomas Lurz of Germany, and Canadian Richard Weinberger as members of the arena Elite Team of international champions. Arena is also technical sponsor of the Royal Dutch Swimming Federation (KNZB).

“We are really pleased to welcome Ferry and Sharon to our team of elite athletes,” said Giuseppe Musciacchio, arena General Manager of Brand Development. “Over the course of the past year, their growth and results have certainly earned them the right to consider themselves serious podium contenders at the world’s leading open water events. With a strong open water stable on the men’s side, we look forward to watching Ferry battle it out with Ous and Thomas both next year in Kazan and in Rio 2016, where we also expect to see Sharon challenge for medals in both open water and the pool. Along with Ranomi (Kromowidjojo)and Inge (Dekker), Ferry and Sharon make up a quartet of current Dutch members of the Arena Elite Team, and with their entries into the Team we are pleased to reinforce the strong partnership we have with KNZB The Dutch Swimming Federation. We look forward to working with Ferry and Sharon in and out of the water as they continue down their Road to Rio.”

“I am very proud to have been selected by arena as a member of their Elite Team,” said Weertman. “I am obviously very familiar with their world class equipment and professionalism, and so I can’t imagine a better partner for me on my Road to Rio.”

"I've been a big fan and strong believer in the Arena brand for quite some time now,- said van Rouwendaal - so I'm very happy and proud to be part of the Arena family as a member of the Elite Team and I look forward to a successful collaboration in the years to come".

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