It is individuals like Niek who are among the unsung heroes of the sport. He is a very active Dutch open water swimming official and observer. He is also the Co-Organizer of Geestmerambacht-Alkmaar-Netherlands, the Co-Webmaster and founder of Geestmerambacht-Alkmaar and the Co-Webmaster of Dutch Open Water Swimming.
His roots in open water swimming date back to 2001 when he joined the Openwater Zwemwedstrijd Geestmerambacht organised by the Alkmaar swimming club where his daughters swam and where he helped create an open water swimming website.
Later, in 2007, Niek joined forces with Richard Broer of the very robust and authoritative Netherlands Open Water Web. Acting from requests from users, they expanded the Netherlands Open Water Web site to Open Water Swimming in Europe in February 2008 where they list and promote hundreds of open water swims throughout Europe, including his favorite, the Alkmaar race.
As a highly valued and appreciated open water official at many Dutch races, Niek has a great vantage point of how races are organized and is viewed by the athletes as he continues to function as one of the backbones of the sport.
As the Netherlands Open Water Web states, "Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!"
edit 01-01-2013: Geestmerambacht has stopped as event. Not enough volunteers to continue.