We'll be introducing you to leaders within the International Ice Swimming Association in the coming weeks. First up is IISA Netherlands Chair and IISA Board Member Richard Broer.
Richard Broer was born in The Hague but now lives in nearby Voorburg. Although Richard hasn’t yet completed an ice event himself, he’s very well acquainted with all the ins and outs of open water swimming. He began his open water swimming career in 1974, and by 1978, he’d ascended to the top of the heap. That year, he won the national open water swimming competition, and went on to represent Holland in swim meets across Europe. He was the second Dutchman to break 16 minutes in the 1500-meter freestyle, and he completed a solo crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar. He was also inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame’s 2017 Class of Honorees for his extensive efforts to promote marathon and open water swimming as an administrator, coach, and facilitator.
Richard was drawn to the sport of ice swimming by “the tremendous drive for survival inherent in human nature.” He first learned of ice swimming when fellow club member Gavin Pike asked for his help in training for his Ice Mile in Antarctica in 2014. “After that, marcel van der togt, organizer of the Open Dutch, and Ram Barkai almost simultaneously asked me to set up the Netherlands IISA affiliate,” and today it’s becoming one of the most active IISA organizations in the world. “Ice swimming in the Netherlands is developing quickly,” Richards says. “We are now preparing for our fourth open Dutch Championships in January. We have a new and very interesting swim in the Amstel River in the Center of Amsterdam on 30 December 2017,” which promises to be perhaps the best way to ring in the new year an ice swimmer can experience.
No stranger to the work required to organize swimming events, Richard is a member of the Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC) of the Royal Netherlands Swimming Association (KNZB). He is also board member of IMSHoF together with fellow IISA board member Ned Denison.
Richard says his favorite thing about ice swimming is “the efforts the athletes take to swim the race and then recover properly.”
In 2018, he’s aiming to swim his first ice kilometer. He's also training for a 118-kilometer relay this summer along the longest continuous length of the coastline of Holland from Den Helder in the North to Hoek van Holland in the South.