VET! Short for Volmolen Energie Team

The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country, with about 20% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level, and 50% of its land lying less than one meter above sea level, so how does this flat country cope in the wild waters? To find out we get to know one of the Netherlands’ teams.

This team was founded in 2005 by a group of slalom paddlers from the “Volmolen kayak club“. They are the longest existing rafting team in the Netherlands. Over the years they have participated in most World and European championships, are 5 times Dutch champions, were 1st in the Sprint R4 at the ERC 2008 in Wildalpen and 3rd in the H2H R4 in the ERC in Lipno last year.

VET1All team members are very experienced slalom and whitewater kayakers. Besides kayaking and rafting they can be found in the gym, running (half) marathons, surfing waves, doing snowboarding and skiing, and occasionally they make sure that the bar in the local pub doesn’t collapse.

Team members: Berwout Leyds and Jeroen Keeris will help us to get to know them better and find out who the other members of the team are.

Bas Verhagen, [Right Front], Frans Lakerveld, [Left Back], Martijn van Tuijl, [Right Front], Sjoerd Dijkstra, [Left Middel, Toine Weijers , [Right middel], Hans van Delft, [Trainer] Berwout Leyds, [Left Front], Jeroen Keeris [captain], make the “VET” crew.

VET2“All members of our team are experienced slalom-white water kayakers, which combined resulted in an un-coachable team. But over the years we have managed to put all the single minded slalom paddlers into a raft team with one goal” – explains Berwout.

Berwout, why do you gather around rafting?

“We like rafting because it is a team sport and you get to go to the most beautiful places in the world, combined with being there with your mates and all the other teams, makes every trip an adventure.”

Where and how do you train and on which rivers..?

“Our home course is at the “Volmolen kayak club”, which is located next to the Dommel (river) in Waalre (NL). In winter time we do all of our endurance and slalom training here. When spring comes we try to compete in as many rafting competitions as possible. There is also the artificial course of Dutch Water Dreams where the R4 WRC 2010 was held. Sometimes we train there but it`s expensive, that’s why we prefer to go abroad for training.”

VET3Tell me something about your great success in the Czech Republic last year?

“We always like to go Lipno, it`s a great river and we meet great people. Last year at the ERC we could finally paddle on the slalom course. Normally this is reserved for the slalom kayak competitions. We had to get used to the big waves on the course since 95% of the time we train on flat water. Luckily the start of the H2H was on a flat part of the course and we could unleash our explosive start. That’s how we managed to get to the semi-final against the Czech team, they were just a bit too strong for us and we ended up in the B final against the Russian team. Before the start we already knew we would beat them. With this mindset the boat was speeding towards the finish and the bronze medal.”

Is there a discipline that your team particularly likes?

“That would be the slalom, since we are all slalom paddlers we like the technical challenge and the teamwork that’s needed to finish that perfect run.”

VET4 sprint2Jeroen, tell us how does your team prepare for the WRC 13 competition?

“In the winter time we are building a strong base with a lot of endurance training. When we are getting closer to the competitions we focus more in the explosive power needed for the sprint and the slalom.

The ideal training week for us contains; twice in the raft, twice in the slalom kayak and twice in the gym.”

Do you have any expectations related to the result…. and what are your expectations generally?

“It`s hard to say. There are so many top teams.”– explains Jeroen“With this competition it`s so close that in order to get in to the top 10 you can`t make any mistake. A small mistake can cost you a lot of places. So to finish overall within the top 10 would be great.”With the competitors that will be in New Zealand, it is quite true.

Will you be able to stay after the competitions?

“Three team members will stay for an extra month. The rest of the team will go back home at the beginning of December. We will arrive at the beginning of November so the whole team will be in NZ for one whole. month.”

Is there anything you would like to see there?

“We haven`t really scheduled anything besides training and competing yet, but I`m sure we will make some time for sightseeing. There is enough out there!!!”

Sponsors that you want to thank?

“Teva,, Enery Center the Volmolen, Keeris Architecten, 4Maat, Camping de Volmolen and Double Dutch Paddles”

I see that these guys, despite the geographical characteristics in their country, are doing well in the white water and are well prepared for WRC 13. So, we wish them good strokes and a good time in NZ.


Article by Nada