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Judith van Berkel-de Nijs

From Openwaterpedia
Judith van Berkel-de Nijs
Judith van Berkel-de Nijs
Judith van Berkel-de Nijs

Judith van Berkel-de Nijs (born Judith de Nijs in Hilversum on 22 April 1942) is a Dutch pool and open water swimmer who was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1964 as an Honour Swimmer and in the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Open Water Swimmer in 2014.

After a successful pool swimming career as a distance freestyler and individual medley specialist, she shifted to marathon swimming in 1962 and was ranked No. 1 by the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation between 1964 and 1968 and on 1970. She crossed the English Channel in 1969 and won many professional marathon races over both men and women, including the 1964 49.8 km (31-mile) Lake Ontario swim in Canada, the 1965 30.5 km (19-mile) Ohrid Lake race in 8 hours 5 minutes in Macedonia, the 1965 and 1967 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in 7 hours 4 minutes and 8 hours 35 minutes respectively in Italy, the 1965 40 km (25-mile) Alexandrium race in the Suez Canal in 10 hours 24 minutes in Egypt, the 1966 32 km (20-mile) Traversée Internationale du Lac St-Jean in 8 hours 38 minutes in Canada, the 1967 16 km (10-mile) Hamilton Marathon Swim in 4 hours 45 minutes in Canada, the 1968 24 Heures La Tuque in Canada, and the 1968 Canalswim Cape Rennes from France to Dover, England in 12 hours 15 minutes. She swims masters swimming competitions now.

Pool Swimming[edit]

Together with her elder sister Lenie, she trained under the famous Dutch coach Jan Stender, and both became record-breaking pool swimmers. Judith first specialized in the 400m individual medley and set a European record in this event in 1961. She then shifted to longer distances and become the national champion in the 1500m freestyle in 1962.

In Dutch[edit]

Judith van Berkel-de Nijs (Hilversum, 22 april 1942) is een Nederlands voormalig zwemster. De Nijs was in 1961 Europees recordhoudster op de 400 meter wisselslag korte baan, in 1959 Nederlands recordhoudster op de 400 meter vrije slag lange baan en in 1957 en 1959 ook op de 4x100 meter vrije slag korte en lange baan. In haar nadagen legde ze zich toe op het lange afstandzwemmen in open water.

Op 13 september 1969 zwom De Nijs Het Kanaal over in een tijd van 12 uur en 15 minuten. In totaal won ze vijftien gouden, negentien zilveren en vijf bronzen medailles bij Europese en wereldkampioenschappen zwemmen. De Nijs was tijdens haar sportloopbaan aangesloten bij de Hilversumse zwemclub De Robben. Ze trouwde met voormalig oranje-international waterpolo Rob van Berkel, met wie ze een zoon kreeg, waterpolokeeper Robert van Berkel.


On 17 January 1968 de Nijs married the water polo player Bob van Berkel and changed her name to Judith van Berkel-de Nijs. They have a daughter and a son, water polo player Robert van Berkel. She remained competitive swimmer through the 1980s–2000s, winning national titles in senior categories in 1988–2001, 2005, 2007 and 2009 (3–4 km freestyle).

International Marathon Swimming Competitions[edit]

  • 1964 49.8 km (31 mile) Lake Ontario swim, Canada – 1st
  • 1965 30.5 km (19 mile) Lake Ohrid race, Macedonia – 1st, 8 hours 5 minutes
  • 1965 32 km (20 mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri Napoli, Italy – 1 st, 7 hours 4 minutes
  • 1965 40 km (25 mile) Alexandrium race, the Suez Canal – 1st, 10 hours 24 minutes
  • 1966 40 km (25 mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean, Canada – 1st, 8 hours 38 minutes (race record)
  • 1967 24 Heures La Tuque, Canada – 3rd
  • 1967 32 km (20 mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri Napoli, Italy – 1st, 8 hours 35 minutes
  • 1967 16 km (10 mile) Hamilton race, Canada – 1st, 4 hours 45 minutes
  • 1968 24 Heures La Tuque, Canada – 1st
  • 1968 45 km [[Le Marathon du Saguenay, Canada - 2nd

Note: in the 1960s, women and men competed together and against each other in professional marathon swimming competitions.

External links[edit]